Review of Home at Reykjavík Film Festival Skip to content

Review of Home at Reykjavík Film Festival

One of the films that I heartily recommend at the Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) is Ursula Meier’s Home. It’s a simple, fictional tale told effortlessly about a family of five who have retreated from society, apparently due to the mother’s inability to function in the outside world.

By Ingibjörg Rósa Björnsdóttir.

For the past decade the family has lived happily in a house by a highway yet to be opened, somewhere in a rural area in France. The father drives off every morning to work while the two youngest children walk across the meadow to catch the school bus. The mother never has to see or interact with other people and the little family is blissfully happy in their carefree world.

Then everything changes one day when road workers appear and clear the highway of the family’s belongings. They close it off and tar it; the highway opens and traffic starts passing by their little house, only a few feet away; increasing as the summer holidays start and the temperature rises.

We see how the members of this tight-knit family struggle to continue leading their lives as the outside community gradually imposes on them, each family member dealing with the situation in his or her own way.

Diegetic sound plays an important role in this film as Meier makes sure that the audience experiences the environment’s transformation from a quiet country atmosphere (occasionally interrupted by the teenager’s stereos) to the constant, bellowing noise of vehicles rushing by.

At one point, I myself was getting irritated because of the non-stop acoustic disruption to the film’s soundscape, so I fully understood the mother’s sensitivity and the desperate measures the father takes to protect his family.

Even though this simple tale leaves us with serious thoughts about the boundaries between the individual and society, it is also partially a black comedy and quite entertaining as such.

Isabelle Huppert demonstrates a beautifully delicate performance as the mother; Olivier Gourmet is brilliant as the father and the children are played by very talented young actors. This is a beautiful film laden with a quiet, but motivating, message.

Home will be screened again tomorrow night. Click here to read more about the program at RIFF.

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