She Was Cuba

Ho Tam

2003, 16:25 minutes, Colour, English


Using the 1964 Russian-Cuban classic film I Am Cuba as its starting point, She Was Cuba explores the nature of memory, the time passed and its remains.

The film is made up of two stories. The first traces the life and death of a Cuban woman, Ada Perez Esquivel, who fled to seek political asylum in Canada. It is the tale of a woman of colour in exile, and her search for freedom, love and acceptance. The heroine symbolizes Cuba the county as well as those who have left their native land for a new home elsewhere.

The second plot line follows the filmmaker in his visit to Havana. Dealing with the loss of a beloved in his life, the filmmaker also struggles with his past and his own internal exile.

To interweave these two personal yet universal stories, the film borrows footage from while also paying homage to, various existing movies made in or about Cuba. On behalf of a country that has been politicized, exploited and exoticized b y the media and the entertainment industry, She Was Cuba questions representation, imagination and imaging.

Rental and Sales

Single Screening Rental


Educational Purchase DVD (Bluray +$15)


5 Year Educational Streaming License, Digital File with DVD Circulation Copy


Gallery Exhibition and Installation, complete Media Request form for quote

Institutional Archival Acquisition, complete Media Request form for quote

Curators and programmers, please contact to receive a login and password to preview Vtape titles online.

Screening and exhibition rentals and archival acquisitions include public performance rights; educational purchases or licenses include rights for classroom screenings and library circulation. When placing an order the customer agrees to our general online terms and conditions. Payment (or a purchase order number) and a signed licensing agreement must be received before media can be shipped to the client.

Critical Writing

Ho Tam: Season of the Boys
by Mike Hoolboom. Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists, 2008. Coach House Books, 2008.
Harder Times, Tougher Spaces
by Vera Frenkel. Canadian Art, Summer 2004, v. 24, no. 2.