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50 Years of Utopia

A film series on constructed utopias, their failures, and other developments

Florian Wüst presents films by Heidrun Holzfeind

Za Zelazna Brama (Behind the Iron Gate) (Germany 2019, 55 min.)

The film portrays everyday life in Za Żelazną Bramą (“Behind the Iron Gate”), a communist housing estate. The estate was developed by a team of architects between 1965 and 1972 on a site in the centre of Warsaw, the ruins of what was known as the Little Ghetto. The 19 blocks, each with 16 floors, were based on modern principles of rationality. The residents were workers, functionaries, academics, and the Warsaw intelligentsia. In the 1970s, the estate was considered a symbol of Polish socialist prosperity and technological progress. Today, the small apartments are seen as substandard and an unpleasant reminder of the communist era. Of the 25,000 current residents, many are students, retirees, and childless couples, and growing Vietnamese and Jewish communities have also settled there. Since 1989, many postmodern apartment buildings, office towers and hotels have been built between the housing blocks, destroying the original layout and green spaces of the estate.


Nine Palms, Christoph Draeger and Heidrun Holzfeind (India 2018, 23 min.)

studio im HOCHHAUS