Sunday 26th May 2019
Put on by SIFF
Architectural styles can reveal hidden truths about the civilizations that supported them—even after those civilizations came crashing down in the blink of an eye. Thirty years after the astonishing fall of Communism across Eastern Europe in 1989, five iconic buildings dedicated to socialist triumph remain in the capitals of these transformed countries: the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Moscow State University, the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade, and the Palace of the Republic in Berlin. In a culture that had officially outlawed religion, these imposing structures were like secular cathedrals for the collective good of mankind but ended up symbolizing state repression. These magnificent palaces, however, are not just static museums for a bygone era. As this documentary from Bulgarian filmmakers Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov reveals through interviews with current residents, architects, and others who worked inside their walls, the buildings reflect the way each country has coped with the wrenching changes after Communism. Some governments have kept the buildings pristine, while others have made them newly relevant under their current capitalist caretakers. Using soaring aerial photography, Palace For The People unlocks the secrets of these enduring symbols of 20th-century socialism as they each take their own paths to a more independent future.
A second screening of this film will be held Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm at AMC Pacific Place.