Our thanks to Peter Jordens for sending us this item.
On April 28 both the Festival Millenium in Brussels, Belgium and the Izmir International Film Festival in Turkey will screen the documentary Unfinished Spaces about the unfinished national art schools of Havana, Cuba. The 86-minute documentary was produced and directed by New York-based Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray. [See previous posts on RepeatingsIslands.com of January 31, 2012 and August 29, 2011.] Recent international screenings of Unfinished Spaces have included Buenos Aires, Argentina and ’s Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands (April 2012) as well as Beijing, China and Mumbai, India (March 2012). Upcoming screenings include Auckland, New Zealand and Tel Aviv, Israel (May 2012).
In 1961, in the heady first days of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara asked three young, visionary architects to create the Cuban National Arts Schools on what had been the golf course of a country club in Havana. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school’s first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools. Before construction was completed, the Revolution became Sovietized, and suddenly the project was denounced as bourgeois and counter-revolutionary. Construction was abruptly halted as the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. The story has many more fascinating twists and turns, as these radical, magnificent buildings become a prism through which we see the turbulent, ever-shifting history of Cuba. Forty years later the schools are in use but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the three exiled architects, now in their 80s, back to finish their unrealized dream. Unfinished Spaces features intimate footage of Fidel Castro, showing his devotion to creating a worldwide showcase for art, and it also documents the struggle and passion of three revolutionary artists whose inspiration and ideals could ultimately destroy them.
For the Brussels and Izmir announcements (with trailer/preview), go to http://www.festivalmillenium.org/en/programme/unfinished-spaces and http://www.izmirfilmfest.com/en/filmdetay.php?id=42.
The documentary’s website (which includes a list of upcoming screenings) is http://www.unfinishedspaces.com. The FB page is http://www.facebook.com/unfinishedspaces.www.facebook.com/unfinishedspaceswww.facebook.com/unfinishedspaceswww.facebook.com/unfinishedspaces
The website of the National Arts Schools (Instituto Superior de Arte) of Cuba is http://www.isa.cult.cu.
Also see these two news articles for more background on the subject: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2012/01/cuban-film.asp and http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/the-latest/unfinished-spaces/5040276.article.