(51 minutes, DCP, 2015)
Following his formally taut 2013 film "Tower House", "A Tropical House" is Karl-Heinz Klopf’s second cinematic meditation on an architect’s own home, in this case, that of the Indonesian architect Andra Matin, completed in 2013 and located in Bintaro, a suburb of Jakarta.
"Tower House" was composed of almost exactly 40 90-second 360º pans moving step-by-step up the building.
"A Tropical House" is made almost entirely of static, medium or long shots, with each succeeding, horizontal view revealing the home, floor by floor, and from a variety of angles. (The few moving shots provide rushes of delight.) The views are dispassionate, almost “Asian.”
The house itself is simple enough: long slabs of concrete or wood walls and ramps with large open gaps between. Or, one can say: the house is composed of large tracts of air and light with interruptions of wood and concrete. There is also a large pond, lawns, a frangipani tree in another pond, and lots and lots of cats—not to mention family and friends and workers, all of them engaged in a variety of activities in this serene yet lively home. For all of its physical weight, the entire ensemble seems almost to float in the air. The house is "open."
The seemingly simple building becomes an object of fascination as its many carefully designed spaces are given over to the viewer. And, for all of its presentness and intimacy—the surfaces of the materials and changes in light; the full-bodied soundtrack of wind and water, urban clatter and birdsong—the voice-overs (by Matin and his wife) also reveal that the house has been made out of its author’s childhood memories. "A Tropical House" is a film that takes its time (as much as it needs, but no more), and a house whose spaces is the film we see. (Arturo Silva)
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