The Dilapidated Dwelling

  • 2000
  • UK
  • 2h 15min
  • Directed by: Patrick Keiller

A woman is recalled to Britain from the Arctic, where she has spent twenty years working with people who build their houses from snow, and given the task of investigating 'the predicament of the house'. She discovers that in Britain, unlike in Japan, the global economy has not managed to bring down the price of new houses, and indeed the principal effect of the digital economy has been to create wealth which has raised the market price of the existing, dilapidated housing stock.

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Best known for the documentaries London and Robinson in Space, idiosyncratic essayist Patrick Keiller turns his attention to the British love affair with old houses in The Dilapidated Dwelling. Why does the nation prefer ancient to modern, vintage to brand new? The question is seen through the work of a woman who has spent twenty years in the Arctic with people who build their homes from snow. Now she is asked to investigate 'the predicament of the house'. So why do the British cling to their bricks and mortar? Trends and tastes are considered in archive footage, interviews and statistics all leading to the big question: why can't the UK effectively produce cheap houses that are comfortable to live in and that people want to buy? Screening alongside three short films: Adam Chodzko's Around, Redmond Entwhistle's Belfast Trio and William Raban's The Houseless Shadow. Part of Glasgow Film Festival 2012: Crossing the Line.

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