Unfinished Spaces (2011)
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A fascinating journey from the optimistic, radical, utopian spirit that followed the Cuban revolution to disillusionment and repression as Soviet influence supplanted revolutionary ideals, as told through a lens focused on three architects and the five gorgeous, Modernisme-influenced National Art Schools they designed and partially built in Havana. Their creative, innovative style of architecture lost favor and became politically controversial as pre-fab Soviet functionalist/brutalist architecture became the order of the day, and the projects were abruptly abandoned before they were finished. Two of the three architects left Cuba as a result of their sudden stigmatization. A documentary about Cuban architecture may sound dry, but it is really quite interesting, aided in large part by the frequent appearance of the highly charismatic Ricardo Porro, a cheerful iconoclast & provocateur who designed two of the art schools, including one with domed Catalan vaults designed to evoke female breasts, as well an open papaya-shaped fountain that also evokes female anatomy. An elderly Fidel Castro also makes an appearance, making a bizarre and implausible series of excuses about why the projects were defunded desipte his claimed love for them.
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