Defiant Souls

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    Defiant Souls


    Directed by

    Cuba, Switzerland


    94 min

    • Spanish


    In the early 19th century, Swiss doctor Enrique Faber travels to Cuba to search for his son, who is said to have been killed in a slave uprising. The local population is jealous of Faber's success as a surgeon and his marriage to Juana, an attractive outsider. Before long, rumors spread regarding his high-pitched voice and his gentle features, and a drama of epic proportions unfolds around one of the most scandalous cases in Cuban colonial history. DEFIANT SOULS is based on the true story of Enriqueta Faber, a Swiss woman who, disguised as a man, studied medicine and became the first female surgeon in Latin America. At the same time, she campaigned against slavery and incurred the wrath of the colonial establishment. Fernando Pérez, for decades one of the great directors of Latin American cinema, collaborated with young Swiss director Laura Cazador on this political period film. This screening is made possible by a partnership with the Goethe Institute in Havana.


    • Special Jury Prize - Havana FF



    Sylvie Testud
    Yeni Soria
    Antonio Buil
    Mario Guerra
    Hector Noas
    Fernando Perez
    Laura Cazador
    Raul Perez Ureta
    Rodolfo Barros
    Philippe Heritier
    Fernando Pérez

    Fernando Pérez


    Fernando Pérez Valdés is a prominent Cuban film director. Pérez graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Language and Spanish Literature, and began working in the Cuban film industry in 1971 as an assistant director, before directing his first documentary in 1975. His feature debut was the drama CLANDESTINOS (1987) but it wasn’t until MADAGASCAR (1994) that he garnered significant international recognition. Pérez later directed LA VIDA ES SILBAR (1998) and SUITE HABANA (2003), considered by some critics to be the best Cuban film in decades. Additional works include MADRIGAL and his last film, WALL OF WORLDS (2014). DEFIANT SOULS (2018) won Special Jury Prize at Havana FF.

    Selected Filmography

    Laura Cazador

    Laura Cazador


    Born in Ginebra, journalist Laura Cazador studied scriptwriting, film directing, and acting in Switzerland and Cuba and holds a degree in history. Her most recent work was a documentary film about Tricontinental magazine and a feature film about the dictatorship of Cuban president Fulgencio Batistas. DEFIANT SOULS (2018) won Special Jury Prize at Havana FF.