On ‘House’ Arrest Being Optimistic At The Eventual New Normal

Posted in Blog, Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - April 13, 2020
On ‘House’ Arrest Being Optimistic At The Eventual New Normal

“The Power of Cinema isn’t in the explainable but in the strange and the inexplicable” Nobuhiko Obayashi

FULL DISCLOSURE: This will NOT be your typical film piece…

As we all sit in our houses more or less a month into the process of social distancing from others and only going out when necessary in waiting of the new normal we got some news in here at In The Seats headquarters.

Nobuhiko Obayashi had passed away after a lingering battle with lung cancer, he was 82.

It made me think about the word “normal” and Obayashi’s seminal debut film House (Hausu) come into play.

To say that House is basically review proof would be the understatement to end all understatements.  It is a free form experience in filmmaking from a man whose previous work came from experimental film and commercial work that has been described as anything from a psychedelic ghost tale, a stream of consciousness bedtime story, an episode of Scooby-Doo if it were directed by Mario Bava and everything else in between.

The correct answer is all of the above as we see this innocent tale of a school girl and her class mates off to her ailing aunt’s old country home as they come face-to-face with evil spirits, demonic house cats, a bloodthirsty piano and disembodied free floating heads…and that’s just for starters.

Made at the iconic Toho studios, this film was supposed to be a flop as it breaks every convention in the book making for something that the world had never seen, and very possibly will never see again.  Obayashi didn’t want ‘normal’; he wanted something different and as we all collectively muscle through this global pandemic (we truly are all on in this together) shouldn’t we all want something different?

I’ll grant that we tend to tackle things of a TV and Film nature around these parts and we do encourage you to broaden your viewing habits but hearing the news of Obayashi’s passing lit a fire underneath me and god willing can light a fire under all of us.

While we crave a return to what was, we just have to ask if ‘normal’ all that great to begin with?

Political and social issues aside our cinematic landscape was seemingly divided into spectacle cinema that would spend the GDP of a small country to make a large scale action epic or small indie scale cinema that would struggle for audiences, I love my big world crushing epics, but were are losing some of the genuine art of storytelling that has come through the medium of cinema ever since George Melies gave us A Trip To The Moon back in 1902.

Do we want to come back to a world where people keep checking their phones during a movie, or do we want a night at the cinema to be more than a diversion?  Or do we want it to be an expression of an art form that has been taken more and more for granted in recent years?

These are decisions that are on us collectively…

Let’s use this time to collective expand our horizons and demand better from not only our forms of entertainment but the world in general.  First off you can watch Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House on the Criterion Channel and for all of you who think that you’ve watched everything on Netflix or Amazon Prime…this is the perfect thing to really open up your mind.  At the end of it all it may not be your cup of tea but I can guarantee it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever seen.

I know we’re all scared in the midst of this global pandemic and we want to dial it back to what we’re all used to, but maybe we shouldn’t want that.  Instead maybe we should use this time to craft something a little different, something we’re not used to, something better.

We need House…we won’t necessarily understand it, but it will show us to the way to that better version of normal which we all so desperately need.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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