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International Competition 2017
The Project Alejandro Alonso Estrella

The Citrus tristeza virus turns a once glowing vision of a cast-in-concrete future in Cuba into an otherworldly place, lethargically poised between the past and the future.


The Project

60 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yamila M. Montero
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Rafael Ramírez
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Emmanuel Peña
Andy F. Pérez
Jesús Bermúdez
Brilliant yellow protection suits with oxygen masks cautiously explore a withered orange plantation. Architectural elements float like loose space ship parts through the white void of a 3D visualisation. The camera investigates the ruined interior of an extensive building complex, the fading beauty of a glowing promise for the future, cast in concrete. In Cuba.

What looks like science fiction is actually the legacy of a utopia. The five-storied, elongated complex in the midst of orange plantations was once built as an agricultural school for 50,000 students. Attracted by the visionary project, people from other regions of the island republic settled here. Today they live like ghosts in the long corridors of a place that is lethargically floating between the past and the future because of the effects of the Citrus tristeza virus. The static shots of this film, however, don’t record decay but a quiet change. Alejandro Alonso Estrella and his team have created an aesthetically impressive haptic cinema of the smells and buzzing of the rooms – a gentle approach to an actual building, its inhabitants and the ideas behind it. Faced with this drawing board communism the film doubts its own visual recollections. The invisible censor is full of suspicion – and has other reasons, too.

André Eckardt

Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique 2017