The Village House (Gamak Ghar). 2019. India. Written, edited, produced and directed by Achal Mishra. In Maithili; English subtitles. 91 min.
Meticulously composed vignettes gradually introduce the film’s central character: a family house in a Bihari village in east India. The comings and goings of the members of an extended clan over two decades are poetically captured in static takes, appearing as though they are pages in a family photo album. While the stories behind the shots and the individuals in them remain mostly untold, the film maintains an unmistakable intimacy, with every detail seen and heard. A stunning statement on form and storytelling, Bihari filmmaker Achal Mishra’s debut evokes the work of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, whose early films are elegant portraits of familial bonds and transitory settings.