The Secret Life of Houses

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


Produced under the auspices of the Independent Television Service series, "TV Families," as part of an effort to confront conventional notionsof family which are normally presented by television, The Secret Life of Houses explores the complex relationship between a mother and daughter. Faced with her single mother's abrupt hospitalization, nine-year-old Margret decides to fend for herself. Concealing her solitary existence from authorities at the hospital, she delves into the mysteries and memories of her life with her mother. A constant interplay of dreams and reality, of memory and searching for answers to the nature of the world in which she lives, obsesses the young girl.

But her attempt to continue her secret life is brought to an end by the arrival of her Aunt Fergie, whom her mother has warned Will try to take advantage of the situation, and Indeed she does. Lawyers arrive, the house is packed up, and arrangements are made to send Margret to leave With her long absent father in Detroit. Faced with dilemmas wherever she turns. Margret must make a symbolic resolution in a last effort to escape the forces closing in on her.

Director Velicescu adapts writer Scott Bradfield's short story in this examination of dysfunctional families. In attempting to portray the inner state of a child, they've created a beautiful and somewhat ephemeral work, but one which is especially delicate and intelligent. The elliptical narrative lends itself to an elusive subject. and the filmmakers have carefully structured a unique vision that gratifies and elucidates. Real family life is certainly enormously complex, and this work makes a valuable contribution to our ability to understand it.

Friday Jan 21 10:20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Sunday Jan 23 10:00 am
Egyptian Theatre

Thursday Jan 21 1:40 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III

Saturday Jan 29 12:30 pm
Park City library Center


— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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