Aug 09

Like A Motorway

FT2 comments • 732 views

French film “Home” starts with a happy family playing hockey on a strip of tarmac. This slowly reveals itself to be a motorway (Autoroute), and their house is right next to it. So we have house, motorway, idyllic field. Happy family. THEN, the motorway is opened. Noise gets to be too much. Motorway is dangerous and seems to be polluting. Its all very strange. But that’s OK because we are never supposed to think of this as real, teh motorway is a METAPHOR.

Problem is its unclear what the motorway is a metaphor for. There are disappointing moments when it could be standing in for THE WORLD, or INDUSTRIALISATION, or THE MOTOR INDUSTRY, or PROGRESS. There si a bit when you think this is just one big eco-fable. But then the family brick themselves into the house, go nuts and almost die.

Truth is, I don’t think the writer and director really know what the motorway is a metaphor for. That turns out to be the saving grace for Home (that and a really naturalistic turn from Isabelle Hupert). Its an odd film, real enough with one glaring odd plot dimension. Which must be a metaphor. I think they just put it in without thinking!


  1. 1
    claus on 28 Aug 2009 #

    Home is a Swiss film, not a French one. And from a Swiss perspective the motorway makes perfect metaphorical sense (which director Ursula Meier is quite aware of): The family is a microcosmic version of Switzerland herself, trying to cling to a safe and neutral idyll while the world around gets faster & closer. Once the world is literally on the doorstep, the family becomes absolutely helpless and paranoid.

    The motorway is a fitting metaphor because the construction of the Swiss motorway network was a controversial issue for decades – people were afraid of Switzerland becoming a mere thoroughfare, and it wasn’t until the 80’s or 90’s until continuous north-south- and east-west-connections were eventually completed.

  2. 2
    Pete on 30 Aug 2009 #

    Cheers Claus, its Swissness is not clear and I certainly wouldn’t have got the references you made above, but you make a very cogent case for it!

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page