Andrea Luka Zimmerman on Estate, a Reverie:
As someone who has spent the vast majority of their life living on large public housing estates, both in Munich and then in London, it was incredibly important to me that the film I was making was not about the community it depicts, but made from within it.
The shared living came first. The film followed as an expression of commitment and gratitude to the people with whom I shared 17 years of life. However, it is of course also an interrogation of the political and social forces that lead people / residents to become marginalized and increasingly overlooked and ignored by the wider political and social realm.
Over the concentrated duration of making (seven years), various formal filmmaking strategies were deployed. These included long-term observational documentary, dramatic enactment, role play (both historical and contemporary) and interventions in public space and with a wider public. This hybrid aspect of the film developed not out of a desire to be aesthetically “avant-garde” but rather because the various devices were simply the most productive in terms of conveying both the layered aspects of the site, historically, architecturally and socially, and also the similarly textured identities the residents found themselves living within, in terms of how they were viewed by peers, social agencies, and the neighbouring public.
The film sought to give the residents a voice and a visual presence – to counter the many myths and clichés of their mainstream representation with images of resilience, strength, and a celebration of spirited existence regardless of the social and economic hand they had been dealt.
The film would have been impossible to make without the enormous commitment of the residents and many others - who gave freely of time, equipment and resources to enable the film’s production. In this way it was deeply collaborative.
The film also seeks to challenge what a documentary about housing might be, even at this time of acute crisis within UK housing. It was a very conscious decision to move away from the statistical and expository towards a poetics of everyday life, built on the extended engagement detailed above.
It seeks to inhabit the reverie of the title, offering a certain tone of memory, subjective of course, but one grounded in a common experience of living within difference. This is perhaps a kind of utopian possibility, formed by the shared time of living in an environment confirmed for erasure. However, it also hopes to offer a modest signpost towards a wider relevance and way of being in the city; a more inclusive and supportive form of social and personal interaction, taking place within a more porous and collectively focused urban environment.
Essays by Ali Smith, Colin Dayan and Rosemary Bechler appear in the booklet which accompanies the DVD release.
(i) On common ground: the making of meaning in film and life by Andrea Luka Zimmerman
(ii)'Watching a London Housing Estate Being Dismantled' - Dazed and Confused
(ii) Estate - Behind the Scenes: three short films by Dilek Erinc Ozcan
(iv) iamhere project
(v) Estates of Being - Andrea Luka Zimmerman
(viii) Fugitive Images
UK, 2013 / 2015
Length / Taşkafa: Stories of the Street: 67 minutes
Length / Estate, a Reverie: 84 minutes
Special feature: 26 minutes
Original Stereo (restored)
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Language: English, Turkish
Release Date: 15 May 2017 Second Run DVD 116