A House Made of Splinters Image

A House Made of Splinters

By Hanna B. | March 7, 2023

It is all so stirring that hundreds of award-winning films or documentaries could be produced focusing on any one of the individuals living and working at this refuge. As this is indeed a house made of “splinters” that nurturing staff try to carefully extract from their little residents that would sadly only leave scars as sad reminders of their past troubles but hopefully cause no more pain. A House Made of Splinters shows that the carers are the true superheroes bringing much-needed hope and heart, all while fighting for the children’s rights. It is the exact opposite of the stereotypical notions of such a place shown in movies and books. In reality, like in Lysychansk, social services or agencies are often doing all they can to avoid sending people to orphanages and find solutions for families to be rebuilt.

Although the military conflict is brewing mere miles away, it is barely mentioned, seen, or heard. It is simply a part of everyone’s routine. Ironically it foreshadows that, while dire, the situation was not as catastrophic as it would become and now has been for more than a year. However, it is also not hard to imagine that the hostilities in Donbas played a part in many of the kids’ circumstances.

“…commendable and deserving of all the praise.”

As mentioned, A House Made of Splinters moves from one subject or point to the next, even though gently, it might feel like it lacks transitions. Similarly, to allow the observational approach, the minimal setup used makes the techniques and visuals appear rough (or not always well-lit). But viewers will be right to disregard these minor inconveniences as Wilmont demands your attention without forcing it. Likewise, the film deals with pretty dark and heavy subjects. The omnipresent childhood trauma is filmed and presented unfiltered. But it is done with so much respect and empathy that it doesn’t feel exploitative. Nevertheless, one might feel appropriately uncomfortable and emotional, but this makes the whole even more commendable and deserving of all the praise.

A House Made of Splinters tells a story that needs to be told as loud as possible. While uncomfortable at times, the filmmaker is respectful and empathetic. Hopefully, due to the efforts of Wilmont, among others, one day, there will be enough funding or help to properly serve all children alone or in need, whether in war-torn Ukraine, at home, or anywhere they are. 

A House Made of Splinters (2022)

Directed: Simon Lereng Wilmont


Starring: , etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

A House Made of Splinters Image

"…tells a story that needs to be told as loud as possible."

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