After forging a career as an accomplished surgeon in Europe, Enrique Faber lands in Cuba in search of their missing son and settles down to continue their investigation, becoming a respected doctor in the community. Under the unjust patriarchy of 19th-Century colonialist Cuba, suspicions arise around Enrique’s open views on gender and race, their increasing care for the subjugated poor and their marriage to Juana, a local outcast. Faber is eventually subjected to a scandalous trial, with the conviction of having concealed their assigned gender and therefore ‘practicing medicine as a woman’.
This stirring film unfolds against a backdrop of the brutal history of the Cuban slave trade and offers a nuanced look at the likely reality of Faber’s gender identity, which could be honoured as transmasculine, transgender, or a cis woman in a same-sex relationship – all erased by the official historical narrative.
Havana Film Festival 2018 Nominee Coral Best Film
"The ease with which Defiant Souls tackles gender and race as irrevocably intertwined constructs, all the while offering us a healthy if doomed same-sex relationship, makes this Cuban project feel utterly contemporary despite its period setting " - Remezcla
Trigger Warning: Sexual and homophobic violence