ALT | International Shorts
A marginalized high-school custodian, fearing the loss of his authority and job, is faced with obnoxious students, a sense of loneliness and an ever-increasing stress load. This is an intense character study of Tom, a paranoid, depressive, antisocial and obsessive-compulsive man who feels his world is being threatened. It’s a brilliant performance by Michael Rose capturing working-class anxieties and fears, expressed in the minute, intimate ways eyes move and linger, or shoulders slump or tighten when certain people walk into a room. The film also seeks to shine a light on the cold, unempathetic environment that amplifies his feelings of inadequacy and rage—which eventually push him over the edge. Open House puts you in Tom’s shoes and makes one reassess one’s own attitudes and behaviours towards those with mental illness.