Cuba will count as having the most beautiful academy of arts in the world. —Fidel Castro (1961)
Cuba’s ambitious National Art Schools project, designed by three young artists in the wake of Castro’s Revolution, is neglected, nearly forgotten, then ultimately rediscovered as a visionary architectural masterpiece. In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. 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, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects 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.
UNFINISHED SPACES portrays the power of art to shape political and social identity. The film tells the story of the Cuban Revolution through its most significant work of architecture and the three men who designed it. At once tragic and inspiring, the architect-protagonists maintain their youthful optimism in spite of their aging and the many obstacles they must face over fifty years. The film questions whether Utopia can be built, and whether or not we should try. It reminds us of the enormous value that visionary artists offer to any society. Ben Murray & Alysa Nahmias