Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Weather House

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Weather House

Article excerpt

Weather House (2017), dir. Frauke Havemann

This avant-garde film seems to be a metaphor for our current world, in which we have become aware of climate change but seem unable or unwilling to address it in effective or rational ways. The characters of the film live in a house in an unnamed location, beset by strange and violent weather changes. Periodically, the action freezes and the time, temperature, and barometric pressure flash on the screen, signally a shift to excessive heat or cold. Rain comes and goes, and external nature scenes show the ground almost writhing in an uncomfortable fashion.

Weather House plays like minimalist cinema, with long shots with little action or dialogue. It also feels like an absurdist play, as the characters interact in superficial ways, seemingly unable to respond with strong emotion to anything and largely unaware of each other's existence. Sometimes a person drops dead on the floor, and the others may ignore this or seem unconcerned. When they do discuss a dead body, they dehumanize it by referring to the person as "it" and are only slightly concerned with removing it, rather unceremoniously. The dialogue that does exist has no coherent content, but signals a sense of apocalyptic foreboding: "The house won't hold." "Anytime now." "I can't stay here." When the characters do interact, it takes irrational forms, as when a man saws off the legs of a table, or inexplicably strings wires throughout the house, to the consternation of at least some of the others. One character who never speaks appears to have wandered onto the set from the camera crew, as she carries a microphone on a boom and records the conversations to listen to them later; but she eats with them, and changes clothes with the weather, so also exists in the diegetic world of the film. …

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