House Movie

(15 minutes, 16mm, 1972)


House Movie is a direct autobiography, with events interpreted as they were in progress. It is about living intimately with another person, in a rented house which never becomes home, due to an unavoidable separation. At times the camera almost takes the point of view of the architecture, as witness to the kind of transient emotions common to houses like this. Using a Rachmaninoff excerpt, the film is edited symphonically, with theme and subordinate theme, development and re-capitulation, echoed in the recurring visual motifs and rhythmic cutting.

“The extravagant camera movement that marks House Movie is not so much lyrical as deterministic; the camera, though curious, has somewhere to go and is content to move forward without prejudice to the reality beyond its own set course. This sense of being in a world in which the familiar exists to be rediscovered and re-experienced, comes through in the best of these ‘home movies’... Films like House Movie permanently deepen commonplace immediate experiences...” Ian Birnie, Independent Views, Art Gallery of Ontario

“Shot in a rented house in Athens, Ohio, House Movie plays in subtle and interesting ways with the concept of ‘home movies.’ As the camera moves purposefully and ‘deterministically’ through the space of the architecture the rented house never achieves a home feeling of real comfort or belonging.” (Cathy Jonasson, Canada House Program Notes)

“Like many of Hancox’s films, House Movie is difficult to categorize because its form is so unique. It is an experimental film in style and in its general approach to the medium, but since its content is autobiographical, with events filmed as they were in progress, it is also a kind of subjective documentary. It records the filmmaker’s impressions of the eventual breakdown of a relationship, followed by moving, and then adjusting to a new arrangement. The camera takes the point of view of the architecture itself, as if it were living witness to the myriad of transient human emotions common to all houses which never become homes. House Movie is tightly structured to a musical excerpt from Rachmaninoff, with all the complexity of theme and subordinate theme, development and re-capitulation, echoed in recurring visual motifs and rhythmic cutting. House Movie is probably Hancox’s most significant film to date… achieves a remarkable warmth and intimacy.” (Cinema Canada)

Available from:

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(printable version of description)

Description of House Movie by Rick Hancox (1972)

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