One neighborhood on a typical summer day: children playing ball or running in the streets, people hanging out in their kitchens looking out of the window, others leaning out on their balconies, minding their own business. The sun is shining and everyone is just living their life, equal parts restless and listless.
But then one old man turns up in the block of flats and starts yelling wordlessly for no reason. At first the neighborhood is shocked… but soon others are joining in for a collective primal scream.
Director and animator David Dell’Edera’s short animated film has a narrative that is mysterious in its extreme simplicity.
The film is unique in that the main “character” is the neighborhood itself, and “Balcony” does a remarkable job of capturing the quotidian, even comforting rhythms and flows that a community contains. The visuals are sun-drenched, stylized and even oppressively bright, but the soundscape is beautifully constructed with an ear for realism, with a rich variety of sounds and voices that capture the tapestry of urban life.
This tapestry is interrupted by an interloper’s social aberration, which first interrupts the lazy summer day and causes everyone to stop. But soon the scream is assimilated by the community, and the group primal scream is both inevitable and highly satisfying.
“Balcony” is both a colorful yet minimalist experience that’s both contemplative and visceral, inviting many interpretations. Whether you’re stumped, intrigued or a bit of both, “Balcony” is both a visual treat and a Zen riddle.