872. The House of Small Cubes – Kunio Kato

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SUMMARY: A man is forced to add additional storeys to his house because of flooding. His descent into the previous levels of the house to retrieve his favourite pipe causes him to relive moments from his life.

WHY IT’S HERE: Japanese animator Kunio Kato’s ‘The House of Small Cubes’ is an exquisite animation which deservedly won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Vividly drawn in bold yellows and subtle blues, this modern classic tell the metaphorical story of an elderly man who lives in a land where the water level keeps rising. Each time it does, he is forced to build a new storey on his house, and with each story the space gets a little smaller. When he accidentally drops his favourite pipe into the flooded lower levels, he dons his diving suit to retrieve it. But as he makes his way down, he discovers that each level holds a memory of his life, from his beloved wife’s death to the growing up and eventual moving on of his little girl. Wonderfully drawn with a hazy, dreamlike tinge that evokes both the water and the past, ‘The House of Small Cubes’ is an allegory for the passing of time, which eventually engulfs us all in its rising waters. The film was instantly hailed as a classic and remains one of the most respected animated shorts ever.

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