Alysa Nahmias (shown at left) and Benjamin Murray (below, right), the documentary tracks the tale of Cuba's enormously ambitious National Art Schools project, from its inception as an idea (almost immediately after the revolution's victory) to present-day. What a story!
"For Fidel, everything had to be the best in the world," recalls an architect -- a woman, too! -- of the time that Cuba's new head of state first told her what he wanted. Later, as Castro tries a game of that oh-so-bourgeois sport, golf, it was decided that the art schools would be built on the site of the former country club's golf course. That'll teach 'em! Or not.
Roberto Gottardi, Ricardo Porro (shown in the photo at bottom) and Vittorrio Garatti, some of whose work at the schools is shown just below) and see the work they contributed to these five schools -- Modern Dance, Plastic/
Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Music, and Ballet -- "I wanted my school," one of them explains, "to be open -- like the Revolution. None of the schools have a main entrance; all of them are interconnected."
Notes another: "They told me that I had built a uterus!" And damned if the roof of his work doesn't remind you of just that. From building to building this is beautiful, glorious architecture, shown below and further below, combining the best of the traditional and the contemporary. (Viewing this film made me, more than anything else I've seen, want to visit Cuba.) And then, before it was finished, it all came to a close. Suddenly, it seemed, everything new in the country had to look like the dreaded (to any real artist) utilitarian, Soviet-inspired architecture.
World Monuments Fund wanted to help with the restoration of the schools, it could not do this because Cuba, being that naughty "nationalizer," was still not allowed to receive any money.
PBS (in bold below):
October 1, 2012 Charleston, SC: Association of Preservation Technology International Annual Conference
October 4, 2012 Miami, FL: Historic Tower Theater
October 5, 2012 Tampa, FL: Cuban Club
October 12, 2012 New York City: Cooper Union
October 12, 2012 PBS National Broadcast: Check local listings
October 17, 2012 New Orleans, LA: School of Architecture at Tulane University
October 17, 2012 Bristol, RI: School of Architecture at Roger Williams University
October 18, 2012 Union City, NJ: Union City Center for the Performing Arts
October 19, 2012 Athens, GA: CINÉ November 2, 2012 Ithaca, NY: Cinemopolis
November 6, 2012 Ithaca, NY: Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Film Forum, Cornell University
November 20, 2012 Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake City Public Library