don’t get it. Old homes have character. That is because there are spirits intimately connected
to each domicile. Much to her surprise,
one formerly affluent young woman starts to see the endangered spirits of her
run-down new neighborhood in Ban Joo-young’s animated feature The House (trailer here), which screens this
Tuesday as part of the Korean Cultural Service’s regular free movie night in
her hedge-fund was wiped out, Ga-young is forced to move into a school friend’s
studio apartment and accept work as a tutor.
Not naturally inclined towards graciousness, she is a bit of a pill to
live with. Indeed, she is exactly the
sort of shallow materialist who could stand to learn a lesson from supernatural
beings. An inadvertent encounter with an
enchanted cat’s collar will do just that.
Suddenly, she can see the Shmoo-like spirits living amongst the studio
units of her dilapidated building.
is not well with the spirits. One of
their brethren is profoundly ailing, showing all signs he will soon share the
fate of the recently deceased human occupant of his unit. However, the dubious urban renewal project
slated for the neighborhood poses an existential threat to all the
spirits. Making promises they do not
understand, the spirits enlist Ga-young’s help petitioning the earth elemental
now residing in that pesky stray for help.
Unfortunately, like most felines, the cat is not helpful by nature.
judge from The House and the previous
KCS animated selection, Padak, Korean
animation seems to be on a collective mission to prepare children for all of
life’s subsequent disappointments. Both
films end on rather heavy notes, even for unrepentant American
capitalists. Still, House also warns children to be skeptical of politicians and their
promises, which is always a worthy lesson.
resembling her character in real life, actress and voice-over artist Kim Kkobbi
nicely expresses Ga-young’s wide range of emotions and awakening conscience. Ban’s figures are not extraordinarily
expressive, but House’s mixed-medium
backdrops are often quite striking. While
not especially original looking, the spirits are nonthreatening and likably
For adults, House
has a flashback sequence that is unexpectedly moving. Although there is absolutely no objectionable
material, for kids raised on Pixar and Disney, it might be a real downer, so
parents should use their discretion.
Easily recommended for animation fans, especially given the price of
tickets—free, that is—The House screens
this Tuesday (2/12) in New York at the Tribeca Cinemas, courtesy of the Korean
Cultural Service in New York.
Labels: Animated films, Korean Cinema, Korean Cultural Service