The camera stands in a house, the lens pointing through the window, outdoors, where the occupants of the home are standing. They respond patiently to the camera operator’s directions: a small step to the left, a little bit forward, no, back just a bit, yes, that’s perfect. Dozens of people pose in this way for a full minute. There’s a man who lives alone, a large family, an older woman on a trampoline. Some are entirely at ease, others more self-conscious. Rabbits, dogs, and cats are allowed to join these portraits, too. All of them are captured within the natural frame of the windows, along with the lace or floral curtains.
The result is a succession of countless moving portraits in perfectly framed black-and-white. The disarming, gently surrealistic tableaux vivants reveal the elements that make a house a home: the simmering casserole, the sound of the radio, the way the light falls, the rustling of the trees. The simplicity of the structure allows the smallest details to emerge. Limitation reveals the master; the power lies in the repetition. “Look!” the Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalniņa seems to be whispering, “Listen! Observe!”