Sat., Oct. 25, 3 pm, NW Film Forum
In one way or another, the third tallest building in Venezuela has been under construction for over twenty-one years. While Torre David (formerly known as the Centro Financiero Confinanzas) stands at an impressive 45 floors in the heart of Caracas’ former central business district, it is unlikely that the building will ever be finished—at least not in the conventional sense. After the developer, David Brillembourg, passed away in 1993 and the financial group supporting the construction collapsed in the wake of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis, the tower was abandoned and became a magnet for squatters.
Today, it is the improvised, continually revised home for more than 750 families living as a self-organized community in what some have called a vertical slum. That this community has not been riven by the contradictory and potent forces that surround and impinge upon it—that its members have, with great ingenuity and determination, turned a ruin into a home, albeit a precarious and marginal one—is nothing short of astonishing. Torre David, with its magnificent deficiencies and remarkable assets, presents the opportunity to consider how people can create and foster urban communities. . (Markus Kneer & Daniel Schwartz, 22 min, Switzerland)