Festival about cities, urbanity, and architecture
In October, the second edition of EDO film festival brought attention to the current and past challenges of cities through film. The festival didn’t take place at cinema auditoriums – instead, it happened at four different locations in Ljubljana that were connected to the chosen documentaries: on the tourist boat underneath the Prule bridge, in community center Posavje, in VR/AR LAB at Technology park and in empty Department store Metalka. The screenings were followed by talks with different speakers that discussed global themes in the local context.
The documentaries selected for the second edition of the festival reveal four different stories where the disharmony between the image, use, and spatial politics is especially evident. Even though the Slovenian cities are far from the cities’ stories in the documentaries, they share similar urban problems and dilemmas. This year those problems and dilemmas were mass tourism, public space planning, socialist neighborhoods, and “smart cities”. We invited spatial sociologist Marjan Hočevar, architect Tomaž Vuga, an expert in cultural studies Nika Mahnič and architect Rok Žnidaršič to join us for debate after each film.
The festival borrows its name from a Slovenian architect and urbanist Edvard Ravnikar – known to his friends as Edo. Edo was an architect with a strong vision. He had a significant impact on the look of Slovenian cities and how we live in them. We don’t know if Edo’s vision was the best possible one, yet we are still influenced and inspired by it. That is why the festival that tries to understand and critically assess different visions of urban development carries his name.
The festival was visited by over 250 people in four days.
About the films:
On an annual level, the ratio of tourists and Venice’s residents is 25.000 to 1. What is even left of Venetian life and who are the remaining residents that fight against their city becoming just another colorful tourist backdrop is the main question of the documentary The Venice Syndrome. On the other side of Europe, the life of city residents remains the same for the past few decades in the housing developments that still represent the main source of apartments in urban settlements in countries of the former socialist block. Polish movie Bloki outlines the role of modernist housing estates from socialism to today with the aid of architects and other spatial experts as well as personal experiences of long term residents. The documentary Experimental City presents us with the idea of how the ideal life in the city would be like. The story is about the city that was supposed to be built in the 60s in the middle of Minnesota and wished to solve most of the urban problems of that time with the use of science and technology. Despite the support that the project had, the experimental city remained only in plans. 20 years later, urbanist and sociologist William H. Whyte caused a small revolution in city planning when he introduced the findings of his research of New York public spaces. His findings still represent the basic study material for everyone that studies public spaces and with the people that use them. The lesser-known fact is that Whyte also collected his observations in a humorous and hard-to-find documentary Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.