by Sean Gilman Film

Our House | Yui Kiyohara

March 21, 2018

Our House is a haunted house movie in which no one — neither characters nor audience — can differentiate between those who are alive and those who are spirits. In fact, that abstraction is so ever-present that this could just as easily be two stories about two pairs of women living in the same house but in parallel dimensions; or perhaps, even more experimentally, simply two unrelated stories about two pairs of women that just happen to have been filmed on the same set and become tenuously united by writerly slips into surreality. In the darkness, barriers between the worlds become almost permeable here.

In one story, a 14 year old girl lives with her mother, their everyday routine haunted by the absence of her missing father. In the other, a woman wakes up on a ferry boat with no memory and is taken in by a woman who may be some kind of a spy. Unanswered questions abound and potential plot threads dangle tantalizingly, recalling Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After, while the potential interrelations among possible realities point to a Hong Sangsoo comparison. Musical in structure and tone, the two stories weaving through each other and around a central lonely theme, director Yui Kiyohara cites Bach as an influence (there’s a bit of The Well-Tempered Clavier on the soundtrack). Her very fine Our House is a melancholy fugue as unresolved and mysterious as life itself.

Published as part of New Directors/New Films 2018 | Dispatch 1.