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Review: The Balcony Movie

Review: The Balcony Movie

– This documentary by Paweł Łoziński presents conversations he had with passersby that he filmed from the balcony of his apartment in Warsaw

The new documentary Paweł Łozinski, The Balcony Movie [+lire aussi :
interview : Paweł Łoziński
fiche film
]
, is exactly what its title says. This feature film, which premiered at Critics’ Week in Locarno last year and is now on the program of the Masters section of the Vilnius International Film Festival (March 24-April 3), gives us to attend over a hundred minutes the many conversations that the director has with pedestrians passing under his apartment in Warsaw.

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The director openly declares, on several occasions, his intentions: to make “a film from his balcony”, so that the film represents “a kind of metaphor for life”, and he will also have to identify his hero in doing so. The lens is as vague as the conversations he has with passers-by, especially with strangers. Sometimes, we especially see how embarrassed and reluctant they are at the idea of ​​being filmed by a man who suddenly points his camera at them, from above. At other times more playful subjects appear (often children or old ladies) who are more willing to interact. Finally, some other characters (one of his neighbors in particular) are eager to see themselves in his film.

Most of these subjects come and go without leaving a lasting impression on the viewer. Two figures however stand out, as they are repeatedly filmed throughout the film and seem to reveal more about themselves to the audience. The first is Robert, a former convict in his 40s who, after a while, maintains that he has an honest job, but continues to struggle to lead a dignified life and have a roof to live under. The second recurring character is a kind old lady whose husband, Andrzej, died thirteen years earlier. The woman regrets not having shown enough love to her man, and she greets the director in French, saying to him: “See you soon!”.

Another old lady is regularly seen sweeping or using a lawnmower. Its presence seems to vaguely indicate the passage of time, since the film unfolds over the four seasons of a year (even if two thirds take place during the summer).

The camera moves very little throughout the film. She mostly points straight down and films people walking past the gate between the building’s courtyard and the sidewalk. You never quite see what’s beyond the sidewalk in front of the building except at the end, and you only get glimpses of what’s to the left and right of the building. stage.

The overall lack of dynamism, the director’s difficulty in developing solid plots, the absence of a particularly gratifying ending and the extremely risky nature of the dialogues make the final result quite sluggish. Perhaps a short film or a medium-length film of this kind would have been a rather interesting documentary exercise, but The Balcony Movie turns out to be a cinematic experience that proves how hard it is to let things happen in front of your own house, just watching and hoping for something great to happen out of the blue. Indeed, very little happens. The overly melancholy instrumental music of Jan Duszynski does not add value, and the film seems a little too morose for a work based primarily on light conversations.

The Balcony Movie is a Polish production that brought together the efforts of HBO Poland and Łoziński Production.

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(Translated from English)

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