In Our House we are introduced to Dan, fresh out of jail and newly sober. Homeless and no longer in touch with his family, Dan is taken in by Derek, a dreadlocked Brooklyn radical who spent his eighteenth year travelling across the U.S., sleeping on the streets in order to get to know the country’s poor. Derek, along with his friends JP and Neil, lives in a Williamsburgh perhaps less familiar to the audience: they are squatters running, with the blessings of the building’s owner, something close to an assisted living facility for former drug users and the chronically homeless.
While most of the men in the house share a vegan diet and a love of punk rock, they are brought together most prominently by their shared passion for Christ. If more commercially-inclined, they might have been the ones to come up with those “Jesus was a hippie” bumper stickers: when the residents of Our House pray, it is not only for spiritual guidance, but also an abundance of whey powder. When they fast, it is not only to commune with God, but also to rid themselves of toxins (on the same cleanse as Beyonce, PS). Most of all, the residents of Our House pray for each other. Derek, JP and Neil see in the Bible a thousand small, concrete, every day examples of creating community. When their building’s demolition day is set, they worry that the love they have to give will be less tangible without a space in which to share it.
I am a hopelessly unspiritual person, but fell completely in love with boys (and girl) of Our House. Scenes inside the house are beautifully shot, partially on film, catching all of the light filtering in, the high ceilings, and the exposed brick. While the film is most centrally an examination of what a community and a sense of place can do for a lost soul, it also serves as a memorial to so much historic city architecture slated for redevelopment.