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by Rose Finlay

Paweł Łoziński, Poland 2021

Director Paweł Łoziński sets up a camera on his first-floor balcony, a perfect shot of the building’s small backyard, fence, and the sidewalk beyond. All sorts of people walk by: the elderly caretaker mows the lawn; a homeless man just out of prison begs for change; a child on a scooter stops curiously; an actress demonstrates her abilities. Everyone interacts with the camera and Łoziński’s questions in different ways. But over time the community becomes accustomed to the presence of Łoziński’s camera, and sometimes little relationships develop. The seasons change as do the people, but some return and little, by little, we learn more about life in this small section of Warsaw.

Despite the simplistic scope of the film, Łoziński manages to capture a wide variety of humanity in his slice-of-life documentary. The distance of the camera and the director to the subjects feels particularly impactful considering the social distancing of the past few years of COVID-19 protocols but is also a nice representation of the typical life of a city dweller.All of these people are aroundat all times, but how often do we take the time to ask them about their lives? While at times the pacing of the film drags, the overall result is a quiet and surprisingly introspective look at the lives of a myriad of average people living in Warsaw. Their hopes and disappointmentsarewillingly offered to the camera without expectation of anything in return. Łoziński has triumphed in finding a simple yet unique way to humanize the average Warsaw local.