VILLAGE HOUSE, THE (2019)
The astonishing debut feature from 23-year old writer/director Achal Mishra. THE VILLAGE HOUSE (Gamak Ghar) is a lovely, luminous and gentle portrait of a large extended Indian family over several decades as they gather at the matriarch’s rural home, following the inevitable rhythms of change, children moving away to the city, and the inexorable decay of traditional village life.
Like Bergman’s FANNY AND ALEXANDER, THE VILLAGE HOUSE is suffused with warmth and nostalgia, and a remarkable eye for detail: men cheating amiably at cards, vegetables frying in oil, kids and uncles mesmerized by a Salman Khan movie, the ephemeral poetry of the present as it slips away. “Gradually we came down to visiting only once a year,” one character observes sadly as the house falls slowly into disrepair – and as the building ages with the family, THE VILLAGE HOUSE becomes the most intimate of epics, tracing birth, death and rebirth like a flood leaving its high water mark on the bark of a tree.