17 user 19 critic

The House of Small Cubes (2008)

Tsumiki no ie (original title)
To save his house from rising flood waters, an old man uses bricks to build it higher, then he relives events from his past while searching for his dropped pipe.


Kunio Kato
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Masami Nagasawa ... Narrator


As his town is flooded by water, an old man is forced to add additional levels onto his home with bricks (cubes) in order to stay dry. But when he accidentally drops his favorite smoking pipe into the lower levels of his home, his search for the pipe eventually makes him relive scenes from his eventful life. Written by btop

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

14 July 2011 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

La maison en petits cubes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Robot Communications See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director/writer Kunio Kato became the first Asian to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film since the category was initiated in 1932. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Japanese DVD release includes a version with Japanese titles as well as narration by Masami Nagasawa. See more »

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User Reviews

A Sunken Gem of the Film Industry
27 June 2019 | by ncruz-77996See all my reviews

Intro: The House of Small Cubes is a Japanese short film, and one of the best animated films to come out of Japan, up there with Spirited Away. And frankly, one of my favorite short films of all time. And pun intended, a sunken gem of the Japanese film industry.

The Story: Told entirely through visuals, this film tells the story of a lonely old man, who to save his house, builds it so it's much higher, and rises above the flood waters and shifting tides. And when he looses his smoking pipe, he goes to retrieve, and in the process, relives his past life.

Clearly dealing with themes of loneliness and life, this film does it with such amazingly written storytelling, and moments that got me very close to bringing a tear to my eye. Making it the movie that came closest to making me cry. Emotionally impactful and dealing in mature themes, this film is a master at good storytelling, a film that inspires me in this respect.

The Characters: As I mentioned before, the film focuses around one character. And in this film, he deals with having to relive his past of loosing people in his life, and that by building his house so it's taller, he's leaving behind their memories. However, by the end of the reminded of how it's important to remember them. In what is one my favorite endings to any film. To cut this section short, I love the arc that are nameless main character goes through.

The Animation: Even though the film technically qualifies as anime, the animation style could not be more different from other anime. Having a sort more abstract drawing style to it, the film's animation is unlike anything I've ever seen. And it's simply beautiful to look at. And I would recommend it to people of all tastes because of this. I would recommend it to people who anime, people who hate anime, people who like animation as a whole, or just people who like film, or good stories.

Conclusion: This film is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. It's impacts the audience emotionally, it deals with great themes, the writing is stellar. And it's just worth a watch. So please, give it a watch. And if my review convinced you to look for this gem, maybe the 8.3 rating will. Considering around 9,000 people in total, gave the movie an 8.3, I'm clearly not alone in my opinion.

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