The Bubble Wins at BARQ

John Hill
16. May 2022
The Bubble, 2021, written and directed by Valerie Blankenbyl

The second edition of BARQ, the International Architecture Film Festival Barcelona, took place from May 10 to 15, overlapping with the EU Mies Award celebration and exhibition and the Model. Barcelona Architectures Festival that made up Barcelona Architecture Week. BARQ featured seven feature-length documentaries and twelve short films. The Fundación Arquia – BARQ Award for Best Feature Film went to The Bubble, a 91-minute Swiss/Austrian documentary written and directed by Valerie Blankenbyl about The Villages, "Florida’s Friendliest Hometown." 

More than just a portrait of a retirement community where residential cul-de-sacs back up to golf courses and golf carts appear to outnumber cars, The Bubble reveals "how those beyond the community's sealed gateways are being profoundly displaced by The Villages' endless desire for land, water, and regional control," and it illustrates "many of the nation's most combative dialogues regarding class imbalance, racial inequality, healthcare privatization, political affiliation, state responsibility, and civic obligation." The trailer for the doc is below. 

(It should be noted that Blankenbyl's 2021 film is not the only one devoted to The Villages, a community made famous in recent years from its residents' enthusiasm for Donald Trump; Some Kind of Heaven was released one year earlier, focusing on the lives of four residents living there.)

Official trailer for The Bubble (Catpics Ltd)

In the same feature-film category, the jury (Marc Serena, Javier Peña – Ibáñez, Ruth Somalo) awarded a special mention to Building Bastille: The Tangled and Improbable Story of the Opera Bastille, a 76-minute Canadian documentary directed by Leif Kaldor. As the subtitle makes clear, the film tells the story of the making of the Opera Bastille in the 1980s, from the creation of the program brief and selection of the architect through a design competition, to the realization of the building by an unknown architect, Carlos Ott, and the political squabbles between French President François Mitterrand and Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac. Equal parts humorous and tragic, Building Bastille features archival footage from a little-seen documentary made in the 1980s alongside new interviews done for the new film.

Official trailer for Building Bastille: The Tangled and Improbable Story of the Opera Bastille (Zoot Pictures)

Additionally the jury (Fredy Massad, Carolina Ciuti, Júlia Solans) for the BARQ Award for Best Short Film selected Storgetnya (Armenia, 2020, 21 mins, directed by Hovig Hagopian) as the winner, and it gave Windows from Here (Portugal, 2020, 15 min, directed by Luciano Vidigal and Arthur Sherman) a special mention.

Related articles

Other articles in this category