For many countries in Eastern Europe, balconies are a quintessential symbol of community. Balconies are both private and public: they offer an escape from the four walls of your own home, while providing a platform for neighbours to talk and communicate, to see and to be seen.
In Ukraine, many balconies are makeshift additions to formerly socialist buildings, but they still provide social hubs for the housing blocks they serve. Short documentary Enter Through The Balcony delves into this very specific local phenomenon, reappraising Ukraine’s towns and cities through the eyes of balcony owners, historians, sociologists, urbanists, developers, and architects. The result is a tender, informative, and disparate portrait of daily life in Ukraine, and a touching exploration of how architecture shapes both people and communities.
Directed by Roman Blazhan and released in 2020, the documentary combines wide landscape shots with close-ups of balconies of all shapes and forms. The viewer flies over concrete blocks and peeks inside the homes of the ordinary Ukrainians who live within. The documentary uses these contrasts in perspective alongside revealing interviews, steadily debunking the stereotypes of impersonal communal houses. Here, we look beyond the tower block and into the unique, intimate worlds created by those who call them home.
Watch on Taxflik, a streaming platform for contemporary arthouse Ukrainian cinema.