The Balcony Movie

****

Reviewed by: Mateusz Tarwacki

The Balcony Movie
"Like the people in front of his balcony, the meaning of the film meets Lozinski in each subsequent interaction."

In his documentaries, Pawel Lozinski uses one of the simplest and oldest recipe for film – following in the footsteps of Man With A Movie Camera, he observes his surroundings through his lens. The seemingly simple formula of registering passers-by from the level of the balcony is shocking. The Balcony Movie proves that the most interesting stories are in the people who surround us – in the close and strange passers-by, neighbours who we see every day, exchanging a routine "good morning".

Lozinski records these everyday encounters. This is one of the cases where the script is written by life itself. Although the director undoubtedly uses his honesty, charisma and friendly demeanour, getting passers-by to emotionally open up with the strength of a nutcracker, he adopts a modest, withdrawn attitude, without even looking for the subject of the film. Like the people in front of his balcony, the meaning of the film meets Lozinski in each subsequent interaction.

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Poland is a country that cannot be described in one sentence. It is a place of clear economic gaps and high social polarisation. It is a place where tolerance faces xenophobia in an eternal everyday struggle. As one of the random encounters says: "Life is shit". However, with simple and honest questions, the director reaches deeper, looking at Poles who are made from flesh and blood. At real people who are living their daily lives. The diagnosis is extraordinary: the characters of The Balcony Movie are full and complex – they show that Poland is not grey. It is a colourful place, full of both great and small, private and public joys and tragedies.

It is hard to believe that it is enough to keep another person for one moment in this endless rush of everyday survival, to pay attention to the great mystery of life: another human being. The thesis subtly posed by the creator is confirmed by his heroes, who start to ask him questions themselves. The Balcony Movie is therefore not only a sociological study conducted on random (and not only) passers-by, but also an interview with Lozinski himself, interaction with people, an exchange of experiences and a great tribute to the selfless love for another human being, Agape.

The Balcony Movie is not a hermetic work, it is not only about Poles – it is about people in general. About those who are lost and busy in everyday life and as hungry for contact with another as one may be thirsty in the emotional desert. This is not the first work by Lozinski in which he restores faith in people. True wisdom and love are in each of us.

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2021
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Documentary composed from the conversations that the director holds with people passing by in the street under his Warsaw apartment.

Director: Pawel Lozinski

Writer: Pawel Lozinski

Year: 2021

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Poland

Festivals:

Locarno 2021

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