God is not in a hurry,” we’re told late in Stefan Haupt’s Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation, a peaceful and gently stirring documentary that considers faith and architecture and human achievement in something like geologic time.
More than 125 years after Antoni Gaudí first dreamed it up, Barcelona’s glorious, glittering basilica Sagrada Família remains unfinished — but it’s getting closer, with now eight of Gaudí’s envisioned 18 towers scraping up against the heavens. As it tells the unlikely story, and showcases passionate sculptors and architects and backers of the ongoing construction, Haupt’s film allows us time to soak up the place, both inside and out: the older façades so filigreed and exposure-browned that they look like they’ve long soaked in briny seawater; the humps and lumps of the white ceilings, which look less man-made than bee-secreted; the controversial nude Jesus; the shafts of sunlight, thick as buttersticks, piercing through the many windows.
You’ll meet stained-glass designers, hear a sculptor explain how stones talk to him — and you’ll maybe not quite believe the story about the lone bricklayer still toiling away on Gaudí’s vision in the lean years after the Spanish revolution. Haupt persuades viewers to surrender to a place, to a vision, and to a scale of thinking beyond our own lives.