Free & Unticketed!
Havana Divas
Movies on the Map

Havana Divas

with director Louisa Wei in person. Free screening!
May 16, 2024

This event occurred as part of the 23/24 Hop Film Event season. This is an archived view.

Two Cantonese opera singers perform for decades (through Castro's revolution) in this remarkable story of the Chinese immigrant experience in Cuba. Discussion follows.

Movies on the Map



Stage sisters Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong, both of Chinese descent, learned the art of Cantonese opera from their fathers in Havana, Cuba in the 1930s. Caridad's Chinese foster father immigrated to Cuba in the 1920s after his family forbade him to perform opera. Georgina's father was a famous tailor in a Havana Chinatown, who encouraged her to learn kung-fu and traditional Chinese dance. The daughters spent their youth performing throughout Havana and among other notable singers until their lives were changed by Fidel Castro's revolution. In their golden years, the two sisters attempt to revive Cantonese opera in a worn-out Cuban Chinatown and, together, make a new wish: to return to their fathers' Chinese homelands to pay their respects. 

Divas offers a window into over 170 years of Chinese migration to Cuba. Through present-day interviews, precious photographs and archival footage, director S. Louisa Wei (Golden Gate Girls) explores the shifting culture of Cantonese opera through a historical time and place. The film reveals the female spirit of the two stage sisters and makes an important contribution to a growing body of films documenting female artists and performers within the Chinese Diaspora.

D: S. Louisa Wei, Hong Kong, 2018, 1h36m

Discussion follows with director S. Louisa Wei and Professor Miya Xie.

Part of the Movies on the Map series, stories that will immerse you in the cultures and natural wonders from every continent.

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