A Tropical House

Following his formally taut 2013 film Tower House, A Tropical House is Karl-Heinz Klopf´s second cinematic meditation on an architect´s own home, in this case, that of the Indonesian architect Andra Matin, completed in 2013 and located in Bintaro, a suburb of Jakarta. Tower House was composed of almost exactly 40 90-second 360-degree pans moving step-by-step up the building. A Tropical House is made almost entirely of static, medium or long shots, with each succeeding, horizontal view revealing the home, floor by floor, and from a variety of angles. (The few moving shots provide rushes of delight.) The views are dispassionate, almost "Asian." The house itself is simple enough: long slabs of concrete or wood walls and ramps with large open gaps between. Or, one can say: the house is composed of large tracts of air and light with interruptions of wood and concrete. There is also a large pond, lawns, a frangipani tree in another pond, and lots and lots of cats – not to mention family and friends and workers, all of them engaged in a variety of activities in this serene yet lively home.

For all of its physical weight, the entire ensemble seems almost to float in the air. The house is open. The seemingly simple building becomes an object of fascination as its many carefully designed spaces are given over to the viewer. And, for all of its presentness and intimacy - the surfaces of the materials and changes in light; the full-bodied soundtrack of wind and water, urban clatter and birdsong - the voice-overs (by Matin and his wife) also reveal that the house has been made out of its author´s childhood memories. A Tropical House is a film that takes its time (as much as it needs, but no more), and a house whose spaces is the film we see.

(Arturo Silva)

More Texts

on A TROPICAL HOUSE, Buenos Aires, BAFICI 2016 (Critique)

A Tropical House is an irresistible combination between how well it is filmed and the originality of the building. In this edition of Bafici it´s amazing how many movies transmit luminosity, elegance, and peace. This one is very beautiful. (Quintín, Buenos Aires)

A Tropical House, Klopf´s premiere at the Festival, follows a similar path as Tower House. A square, straight-lined house in Indonesia, where fixed shots are the best way of capturing the living space. Here, too, the actual voice of the architect who built the house and lives there, together with the images of family and friends´ meetings, gives the lm a human touch, showing an interest in the ways in which we inhabit our spaces. A common denominator in both of Klopf´s chosen buildings is that their rooms are usually open ones, with few doors, and thus very suitable for the circulation that the films of the director express.
(Martin Gomez, Buenos Aires)

Architecture films are special and usually not suited to popular taste. The Austrian Karl-Heinz Klopf however succeeds with his film A Tropical House to enthuse a wide audience. Beginning with long shots of the entrance of the architect´s house in Indonesia, where people constantly come in and out, he piques the curiosity of the spectator. [...]
Orig. Title
A Tropical House
Austria, Indonesia
51 min
Karl-Heinz Klopf
Orig. Language
javanese, English
Karl-Heinz Klopf
Concept & Realization
Karl-Heinz Klopf
Tatia Skhirtladze
Sound Mix
Nils Kirchhoff
Colour Correction
Klaus Pamminger
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Linz - Crossing Europe Film Festival
Buenos Aires Festival Int. de Cine Independiente BAFICI
Praha - Architecture Film Festival
Jihlava - East Silver Market
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films