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The astonishing debut feature from 23-year-old writer/director Achal Mishra, The Village House gently and lovingly captures a large extended Indian family over several decades as they gather at the matriarch’s rural home. As the movie follows the inevitable rhythms of change, such as children growing older and moving away to the city, it is the village house itself that emerges as the central character in this tale of the inexorable decay of traditional village life. Mishra keeps the film continually captivating on a visual level through gorgeous fixed-camera long takes and he has split this generational story into three separate chapters that take place years apart, employing a different screen aspect ratio for each segment. The narrative mostly avoids moments of tension to favor a flowing series of warm, nostalgic images: food cooking, old men playing (and cheating) at cards, a family gathered around a small television to watch a movie. As time slips away, and the house falls slowly into disrepair, Mishra’s storytelling technique builds to its devastating final moments, resulting in an intimate mini-epic that traces the intertwining of family and nature through the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The Village House provides a resounding emotional experience through quiet observation of the human condition. “Like master filmmakers Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien, Mishra understands how cinematic aesthetics can beautifully mirror the invisible momentum of time” (Glenn Heath Jr., The Film Stage). (JH)

  • Year
  • Runtime
    91 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Achal Mishra
  • Screenwriter
    Achal Mishra
  • Producer
    Achal Mishra
  • Cast
    Abhinav Jha, Mira Jha, Satyam Jha, Soniya Jha
  • Cinematographer
    Anand Bansal
  • Editor
    Achal Mishra