People from Number 5
A classical Viennese public housing complex outside of the city center: the houses, arranged within a green space, are meant to mediate a comfortable, socially-aware lifestyle to its inhabitants. We accompany the young filmmaker Simon Spitzer into the complex’s Staircase number 5 building, familiar to him from his childhood and youth, in order to follow his chronicling gaze of this sociotope.
First station: the home of Spitzer´s mother who upon his request guides us through the apartment. It is evening, and his mother tells us how she prefers indirect light and leads us into a room with posters from the director’s first film and some children paintings. After, we visit with the neighbors, find out from an elderly woman that she has cancer, and from a young student and fan of the Rapid football team, that he has a passion for painting. A boy shows how he tries to deal with the aggression he has after his father left the family, a young woman speaks in the laundry room about how difficult it is to balance job and child. The final station: back into the mother’s apartment, where the filmmaker’s younger brother now commands attention.
Spitzer approaches the individuals gradually and with extreme care, in part, by letting them speak through their personal objects, such as a grandfather clock, a collection of football scarfs, etc. We find out an amazing amount about these people in these short snapshots. Through the director’s emphatic questions and the skilled camera work, we get close to them very quickly, while at the same time maintaining a respectful distance: A cinematic balancing act that the filmmaker has carried out in style with this documentary miniature.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
Die Leute von Stiege 5