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Review: Project of the Century


Carlos M Quintela's Project of the Century tells a tale of shattered dreams and hopes of the Cuban society that ripple from government level right through to the ordinary citizen.

 After, breaking up with his girlfriend, Leo moves back in with his father and grandfather in the distressed town of Cienfuegos which had once had the hope of prosperity because of a power plant that was set to be built in the town.

The entirety of the action takes place in a dilapidated high rise apartment block in the small district of Juragua which was primarily built for the workers who would be working in constructing the power plant. Leo's father, Rafael (Mario Guerra) was one of the technicians who worked at the plant who provides us with a first-hand experience of working at the plant as well as a connection with the disappointment of the shattered dreams of the power plant.

The arrival of Leo, played by Leonardo Gascon, causes tensions to escalate between Rafael and his tetchy, patriarchal father Otto, played by Mario Balmaseda as the film focuses on these three generations of Cuban men who represent a certain epoch in the nations post World War Two history. The arrival of Rafael's girlfriend Marta, played by Damarys Guttierez escalates the tension between these three men even further to its peak.

The often monotonous scenes and slow progression of the storyline may cause some to lose patience with the movie. More avid ‘cinephiles’ might find the relations to the Cuban cinema and history itself more rewarding with interesting cinematographic choices and styles.

The film's focus on these thematic issues provide the audience with an opportunity to peek into the social and political crises that are an outcome of the crippling of Cuba as the Soviet Union disintegrated. The portrayal of these issues however can be said to be disappointing as the film struggles to genuinely illuminate these issues.


Nolwazi Gumede is a Fashion obsessed film enthusiast with a lust for the finer things in life.

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The 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities, Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, , KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, Gauteng Film Commission, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and a range of other valued partners.


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