Havana Divas: S. Louisa Wei Discusses Her Latest Documentary

Havana Divas documents the story of Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong Guitierrez, two childhood friends who have spent nearly a quarter-of-a-century working to revive interest in Cantonese opera in Havana’s present-day Chinatown. Director S. Louisa Wei discusses the making of the film, never giving up on your dream, and more than a hundred-and-fifty years of Sino-Cuban history.

Havana Divas «古巴花旦» explores the history of Cuba’s Chinese community through the eyes of Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong Guitierrez—two childhood friends who grew up in Havana’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s and who played an instrumental role in popularizing Cantonese opera there. Now in their eighties, the pair has spent almost twenty-five years trying to preserve the memory of Cantonese opera in the community and has reached out to those in both Hong Kong and Mainland China in an effort to learn even more about their own ancestral roots.

The film is also the latest feature-length work from Hong Kong-based director S. Louisa Wei (whose previous documentary, Golden Gates Girls, examined the life and work of Esther Eng—one the first female movie directors with ties to Southern China). As Wei explains, her current project stemmed almost entirely from a chance encounter with Caridad and Georgina more than six years ago.

“We were introduced to them back in 2011 when they came to Hong Kong for the first time,” she recalls. “At the time, we made a very quick decision to go with them to the countryside in China to worship their ancestors’ home, but then we discovered that they really enjoyed singing Cantonese opera…”

Read the whole article on Eastern Independent here.