This film, directed by Benjamin Murray, and Alysa Nahmias, follows three innovational architects exiled from Cuba in 1965. The architects design and nearly finish what was considered to be the world’s most spectacular and futuristic art school. However it is left to ruin by the country’s Revolution, and abandoned by the people of Cuba. Forty years later Fidel Castro invites these visionaries back to finish what they started.
I was a big fan of the intimate footage featured in “Unfinished Spaces.” The film contains scenes with Fidel Castro displaying his devotion to creating an international showcase for art, and his passion for the school that never quite was. Interviews with the artists show their struggle to turn this inspiration into a reality, and the ideals that nearly destroy them.
The school is envisioned as a miraculous piece of art during its formation in the 1960’s. The buildings delicately weave together function and aesthetics, and have a sense of openness that resonates within each of the structures. They are made to promote art, dance and music in a way that captures the minds and spirits of the students as well as the people of Cuba.
I liked the way the documentary shows the before and after footage of the school. It takes you through the various phases the creators undergo and shows how these stages reflect the essence of Cuba through the years. In depth interviews with the revolutionaries reveal their initial dream, what became of these ideas, and the unfortunate collapse of what they had created. Later when they are invited back to finish their vision they run into much of the same problems that held them back four decades earlier. Poor government funding and lack of workers eventually causes the project to be put on hold for a second time.
“Unfinished Spaces” is the unique story about the dream that should have been, but never was. The passion of the architects for their work is captured expertly in one on one interviews, and further revealed in detailed footage of the present day school. In essence, their movement symbolizes the spirit and energy of a revolutionary Cuba and the insight that united an entire nation. What becomes of this dream in a post-revolutionary world is representative of many ideas that were abandoned in favor of a more practical means.