BECAUSE OF THE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW WE STRONGLY ADVISE TO WATCH THE FILM FIRST.
Age catches up with us and eventually overtakes us. But what about the changes that we have to accept once we’re growing old? Is it our obligation to accept them and to keep up with them?
‘Within Four Walls’ is one of the few very rare films we’ve been honored to host during our monthly film festival so far. Hyo Kaag, the director, is very careful when treading. Nothing’s fake, nothing’s rushed, nothing’s forced in the script for the better of the screening. Her film is truthful and meaningful, sensitive and very real. The characters’ reactions and attitudes towards their own condition and to the environment around them are genuine and very life-like. In a way it is like watching real life, but don’t get fooled, the film has his own lyricism. It takes real wisdom to narrate about old age… an age so difficult to understand and relate to.
In short: two old brothers (in their 70’s) are trying to cope with their living in the old house where they were born, resisting to accepting assistance and moving to a smaller place even after one of them has a stroke.
Hyo Kaag explored very patiently the depths of this apparently simple theme to reach the essence. Most of us would look at the two stubborn ‘dodderers’ as at two squeamish brainless tempers, unaware of their fragility and unrealistic about the danger that lurks them. However, that is not what the director sees and she is delicately trying to explain the truth to us, the public: the two are very aware about the death knocking on their door and their fragility. They might seem stubborn and picky but they are in fact very worried and maybe a little nostalgic too. The farm house has been their home for a lifetime. It’s where they grew up, it’s what they learned to maintain, it’s where most of their work took place and they also feel like it’s their legacy – and by saying that we don’t mean like ‘money’ or ‘material inheritance’ but as a ‘family tradition kit’ with traditional values and memories and everything a man’s life comes with. Their worries are strongly connected to their fear and awareness that they won’t be able to adapt themselves anywhere else. Here they know their territory and their daily habits keep them going, be it from inertia but they keep them going. So in a way they are walking the path to its very end with dignity and honor. Their relocation would make them lose not only that but also their purpose and order in life. Leaving the old house for a new place would be the same as renouncing at themselves and their predecessors. Isn’t that high treason? But nobody around them seems to understand that. So the question again: are they obliged to keep up with the ‘times’? Of course we’re not going to answer that for you. Just watch this film. We highly recommend it.
Though this is something that can rarely apply and we are usually very prudent in giving such markings, we would like to label ‘Within Four Walls’, director Hyo Kaag and her team as outstanding. This is one of the top 3 films in our festival history so far.