House of America

Director: Marc Evans
Screenwriters: Edward Thomas

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


In his hauntingly poetic first feature, Marc Evans has made a pointed effort to avoid what he refers to as “British miserablism.” Set in the rural wasteland of a depressed Welsh mining town, House of America focuses on the interminable optimism and ruinous fantasies of the Lewis family.

With no end to the cycle of inertia and unemployment in sight, Sid, Boyo, and Gwenny dream of joining their absent father in the promised land of America. When a coal mine opens just outside town, the boys leap at an opportunity to hire out as laborers. However, their plans for advancement are foiled by their increasingly delirious mother Mam, who will risk all to keep the remainder of her family intact. With all hopes of escape thwarted, Sid and Gwenny sink into a drug-assisted obsession with America, reinventing themselves as the lovers Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson. As their doomed relationship speeds toward its ill-fated end, Boyo is left to unravel the hideous truth behind the enigma of their father’s disappearance. Boasting dazzling cinematography and an inspired sound track orchestrated by John Cale (including such artists as Tom Jones, the Velvet Underground, and Teenage Fanclub), House of America is testimony to the exciting new trend toward regional filmmaking in Britain.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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