Inspired by the real demolition (in August 2019) of the Cité Gargarine, a colossal 370- apartment housing-project on the edges of Paris, the film explores the perspective of Youri, a Black teenage boy abandoned by his mother and brought up by the close-knit community that exists within the building.
The significance of the building, beyond the pressing reality of being a home to so many, is the architectural optimism of its 1960s design.
The building was famously visited by the Soviet cosmonaut, Uri Gagarin, in 1963, and the dream of space-travel weaves throughout the film (beautifully evoked through archival footage of Gagarin’s historic space flight) and into the young boy’s enthusiasm for astronomy.
When the building is faced with demolition, the aspirational architecture of its skyward optimism is now under threat as a site of urban entropy. Refusing to accept the impending demolition, Youri rallies the community in protest, fighting to save their home, the unique building, and the idea at the heart of its construction.
This is a beautifully observed rumination on community, social politics and personal hope; a site-specific portrait that is at once poetic in its transcendence and authentic in its detail.