This fitfully interesting documentary posits that the history of Cuba's National Schools of Art mirror the larger history of Castro's revolution. Designed in 1961, the futuristic-looking complex was intended as a shrine for imaginative thinking; however, unimaginative hard-liners in the Castro government—who deemed the architecture "nonproductive"—halted construction before the buildings could be finished. The schools deteriorated rapidly due to natural disasters and economic downturns (during which impoverished Cubans stole pieces of the buildings for scrap), but international advocacy efforts, along with the testimony of generations of art students, inspired Castro to launch an ambitious renovation project in the early 2000s. Directors Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray acknowledge both the frustrations and the enduring hope of the revolutionary generation, which results in some affectingly bittersweet moments. In English and subtitled Spanish.
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The third annual festival at the Music Box