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Ion Grigorescu’s film “Balta Albă” documents life in the synonymous district of Romania’s capital Bucharest in the late 1970s, a district that had been overshadowed by the construction of typical Communist-era housing blocks. The artist visited this quarter frequently, not only making a film but also taking many photographs of everyday goings-on. The destruction of Bucharest’s historic district to make way for a hegemonic architectural style did away with many old habits and created overarching modes of social and public encounter via which life in the streets continued. Grigorescu’s nonchalant documentary style captures the endless rows of buildings and their gridded architecture in different angles of sunlight and from various perspectives. The second part shows a gathering of people at a market as well as children playing in playgrounds and in the rear courtyards of the buildings. And a family walk towards the end of the film is immersed in tinges of red while the camera’s gaze concentrates mainly on the activities of the artist’s son.


  • Artist: Ion Grigorescu
  • Original Title: Balta Alba
  • Year: 1979
  • Material: 8mm film transferred to 16mm, color, no sound
  • Dimensions: Duration: 7min, 55sec
  • Inventory no.: K409
  • Category: film
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