Estate, a Reverie


Daniella Huszár

Film: Estate, a Reverie (Andrea Luka Zimmerman, 2015, 84’)

Thursday March 5 – 19:00

Housing is one of the key themes of this year’s festival. The strongest piece among the films dealing with this topic is Estate, a Reverie, which documents the last days of a community living in Haggerston Estate, a social housing project in London. We chose this movie as the opening film because it tackles a policy issue that defines our everyday life with unique sensitivity and universal language. It treats a lurking and often untold crisis phenomenon with undisguised honesty that is as current in Hungary as it is in Britain.

The film addresses the issue of housing as a fundamental human value, showing the human norms of living together, by portraying the everyday life of a community that in the face of the realized loss could experience temporary rebirth in its functioning. Human to the core, the film succeeds to dispel the unusual stereotypes associated with such communities from the very first still, and momentarily suspend discrimination and underrepresentation. The film employs unique methods from participative observation to performance. The director herself was living in the estate for 17 years, the shootings lasted for 7 years allowing for the creation of a masterful compound of empathy and intimacy.

According to the director, “It feels important to say that Estate, a Reverie has not been made about this community, but has been made from it. Through a variety of filmic registers and strategies, the work seeks to capture the genuinely utopian quality of the last few years of the buildings’ existence, a period when, because demolition was inevitable, a sense of the possible, of the emergence of new, but of course time-specific, social and organizational relationships developed, alongside a fresh understanding of how the residents might occupy the spaces of the estate.

Estate, a Reverie focuses on the ‘structure’ of its eponymous architecture not only because it is where we live, but also how we live. The film explores the multiple implications of what most explicitly defines us to other people, while simultaneously challenging that often all too mono-cultural definition and revealing the complex diversity of the population it houses.

Estate, a Reverie is, inevitably therefore, about housing, and about the policies that lead us to live lives at the mercy of governmental and financial decisions. But, much more, I hope, it is about how we belong in the world and what structures of meaning exist to define personal and social lives. How do we resist being framed exclusively through class, gender, ability or disability, through geography even? How can we express the fullest possibility of our being, creatively and collectively?”