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Daily Helping for September 29th, 2021 – Balcony – Lendita Zeqiraj

A photo still from the short film Balcony by Lendita Zeqiraj. Two women stand on a road, holding hands, and looking up at a building in horror.

Today’s helping is once again the product of me looking at a map and choosing a country at random. Which is how I landed on Albania, and subsequently this short film by Lendita Zeqiraj. The plot is relatively straightforward. A young boy is sitting on the edge of a balcony, threatening to fall and/or jump. A crowd gathers below, and without giving too much away, let’s just say that all hell eventually breaks loose.

What was extraordinary about this film was that despite the fact that the boy on the balcony is basically the centre of the plot, he only appears onscreen very briefly. Instead, the film focuses on the people below, most of them complete strangers, and the many tensions and conflicts that arise out of the fraught circumstances. Politics, socioeconomic pressures, and family dynamics all play into the chaos that unfolds. And similar to the Estonian short film, Balcony touches on a lot of local issues. Some of which I could infer, some of which made me want to look into further. All of which made me realize just how little I know about Albania in general.

This film is also unique in that it’s filmed entirely in a single shot. Personally, I love this technique. I find it makes everything feel more visceral. Like you are experiencing the film instead of just watching it. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out that this was where the film was headed, but once I did, I loved every moment of it. Even when I was watching through my fingers wondering what was going to happen next.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!