As a fan of movies in general, I am always open to any type of film, so it was only natural for me to want to sit down and watch one that would be different from what is usually advertised. I was lucky to have come across “La Maison en Petits Cubes” or “Tsumiki no ie” as it’s unlike any movie I’ve seen.

This film tells the story of an aged man that, due to the water level rising and subsequent engulfment of his town, he is forced to reconstruct his house to be taller by using small bricks. One day, his favorite smoking pipe fell into the water that had consumed his home. So, he adventures back into the building to retrieve this pipe, but along the way, memories that were once buried resurface. As I watched this movie—only twelve minutes long—not only was I was enchanted and immersed into its world, but also fascinated by how it had such a simple story and was able to make me remember personal memories that, I, myself had forgotten were there. It is a short movie, but it creates this feeling of nostalgia onto whoever might want to watch it. Director Kunio Kato has certainly made a masterpiece with “Tsumiki no ie”. It isn’t easy to make a brief movie with such a beautiful theme and still remain as abstract in the way this film managed to accomplish. The short animation won several awards such as “The Best Animated Movie” and “The Best Script award” and many more. Kunio Kato is known for the worlds that he creates and deeper meanings that are often found in his works, which in my opinion makes him an extraordinary man whose talent cannot be replicated.

I thought that the artwork done in this animation is absolutely stunning as it matches the type of movie this is perfectly. The constant presence of warmth in the colors used brings us into this wonderful world of “Tsumiki no ie” and this feeling of nostalgia. Furthermore, the bewitching background music brought this unique and emotional world to life. With no dialogues in this short film, people of all ages can watch it. However, because this motion picture leaves you to contemplate life and causes a person to get lost in once-abandoned thoughts, not everyone can enjoy this type of film. Every scene is basically like looking at a picture book which fits flawlessly with the theme of the story.

To me, this movie has a lot of valuable lessons in it. One of its messages to cherish every moment as well as to create happy memories. If you were to ask me, this film is about a man remembering his life before passing away. The flood probably symbolizes a sickness that gradually takes the man’s life. His effort to fight it off is shown when he adds height (using bricks) to the house to make it withstand the deluge. This action could be viewed as the elderly man’s desire to continue living. Finally, when he adventures into the watery depths of the building in search of his favorite pipe, this could signify him losing to the sickness and reminiscing about past memories before perishing. I could be wrong about all of this, and this proves just how this story can be perceived in many different ways—this is how beautiful and deep “Tsumiki no ie” is.

In conclusion, I would have wanted the movie to be longer because of how wonderful it was. I believe that this short animation film is an amazing work of art done by Kunio Kato. As a result, it is worth watching as it provokes the viewers to think and even remember happy memories that might have been forgotten. If you haven’t heard or had the chance to watch this fantastic movie, I recommend it to anyone of any age. Don’t let the animation and the short duration fool you because this film is absolutely touching and breathtaking. I ended up watching it over and over and was still touched by it every single time.

Story: 9.5/10
Animation: 9/10
Cinematography: 9.5