Tania Libre

(Tania libre)
Lynn Hershman Leeson | Documentary

2017 | 73 minutes | Cuba, United States, Germany

In a fascinating and novel approach, Lynn Hershman Leeson allows us to eavesdrop on one of the world’s most celebrated—and daring—Cuban artists, Tania Bruguera’s session with Dr. Frank Ochberg, a New York-based psychiatrist and pioneer in post-traumatic stress disorder and the Stockholm syndrome.


How does incarceration affect an artist’s psyche? In a fascinating and novel approach, Lynn Hershman Leeson allows us to eavesdrop on one of the world’s most celebrated—and daring—Cuban artists, Tania Bruguera’s session with Dr. Frank Ochberg, a New York-based psychiatrist and pioneer in post-traumatic stress disorder and the Stockholm syndrome.

Bruguera visited Dr. Ochberg after spending eight months in prison accused for treason after announcing her intention to provide an uncensored platform for citizens in Havana to freely express their views in public for one minute. During the session, Bruguera eloquently reflects on the emotional ramifications of constant struggles with authorities, the psychological and physical effects of her interrogations, and a family dynamic that mirrors the subversive surveillance culture that many Cubans encounter in their daily life. The film touches upon broader issues related to the revolutionary potential of art, censorship, and the loss of civil liberties.


"★★★ A provocative portrait of the artist, this is recommended." — Video Librarian

"It raises provocative questions about abusive familial structures and the ways that traumatic experiences of betrayal can play out on a larger political scale." — Vanessa Thill, Art in America Magazine

"Lynn Hershman Leeson is my hero. (Also Tania Bruguera and her ever-perceptive psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Ochberg, who specializes in PTSD, trauma bonds and father-fascists). Their film is about Cuba but has lessons for anyone anywhere dealing with the loss of civil liberties." — Jori Finkel, The Art Newspaper

"Their conversation is not concerned solely with the immediate fright of incarceration, but with the mechanisms of state censorship and propaganda. Politics becomes a performance in front of the audience, whose staging was more complex than any stage show." — Lida Bach, Movie Break

"The film's power stems from Bruguera's frankness in discussing her ordeals and Ochberg's insights into trauma. They discuss a range of topics, including Bruguera's father (a former diplomat and Castro loyalist), political leaders as father figures and Stockholm syndrome." — Jori Finkel, The Art Newspaper

"A haunting documentary that showcases...Bruguera coming to terms with the consequences of creating such an incendiary piece of art. Tilda Swinton lends her soothing and yet scrutinizing tones as the narrator." — Oliver Johnston, The Up Coming

"The Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award honors a filmmaker whose main body of work falls outside of the realm of narrative feature filmmaking. Recognized internationally for her innovative work investigating issues key to the workings of society... the relationship between identity and technology and the use of media against censorship and repression... Lynn Hershman Leeson's film, installation, and multimedia work continues to inspire audiences." — San Francisco International Film Festival

Main credits

Hershman Leeson, Lynn (film director)
Hershman Leeson, Lynn (film producer)
Ochberg, Frank M. (on-screen participant)
Bruguera, Tania (on-screen participant)
Swinton, Tilda (narrator)

Other credits

Cinematography, Hiro Narita, Shane King; editors, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Shane King.

exile, sociology, Tania Bruguera, Frank Ochberg, Tilda Swinton, Cuba, Fidel Castro, communism, exile, displacement, immigration, psicology, therapy, spanish, spanish language, latin america, latin american cinema, latin american film, ibero america, latin, latinx, latino, latina,,migration studies, migrant studies, immigration studies, refugee studies, diaspora studies, resettlement studies, settlement studies, migration, migrant, immigration, refugee, diaspora, resettlement, settlement, refugees, international migration, continental migration, resettling, settlers, settler, migrant, migrant studies, first generation immigrant, first generation immigration, new americans, new spaniards,activism, activist, digital activism, advocacy, advocate, involvement, militancy, militant, logrolling, striking, boycotting, championing, champion, effecting change, engagement, supporter, protest, protester, demonstrator, organizing, labor organizing, revolution, revolutionary, community organizing, effecting change, striking, labor strike, labor organizing,mental illness, therapy, trauma, behavioral health, mental disability, psychology, psychiatry, social work, wellbeing, counselor, diagnosis, mentally disabled, mental incapacitation, mentally defective, mental handicap, mental defective, psychotic break, psychosis, psychoses, mentally sound, questionable mental health,biography, autobiography, biopic, memoir, life history, bio, biographer, biographical, personal account, personal history, diary, personal narrative, sketch, profile, personal letters, letters, journal, personal record,visual arts, painting, drawing, printmaking, filmmaking, craft, crafts, architecture, ceramics, photography, video, videomaking, film, conceptual art, installation art, art exhibits, artmaking, photos, videography, sculpting, sculpture, theatre, theater, music, musicmaking, music performance, art styles, art history, plastic arts, fine art, fine arts, visual arts centers, visual arts education, jewelry, jewelrymaking, beaux arts, graphic arts, graphic design, abstract art, art galleries, art gallerist, galleries, gallery, gallerist, gallerists, illustration,women, womanhood, gender, girl, girlhood, mother, motherhood, female, cis woman, cis female, trans woman, trans female, women’s rights, women’s issues, lady, ladies, gentlewoman, madame, miss, missus, mrs., dame, damsel, ingenue, lass, maid, maiden, belle, gal, ladyfriend, girlfriend, dear, darling, widow, matron, dowager, gender, gender equality, gender pay gap, women’s liberation, women’s rights,caribbean studies, the caribbean, caribeean sea, caribbean island, antigua and barbuda, bahamas, barbados, cuba, dominica, dominican republic, grenada, haiti, jamaica, saint kitts and nevis, st lucia, st vincent and the grenadines, and trinidad and tobago, anguilla, aruba, british virgin islands, caribbean netherlands, bonaire, sint eustatius, saba, cayman islands, curaçao, guadeloupe, martinique, montserrat, puerto rico, saint barthélemy, saint martin/sint maarten, turks and caicos islands, us virgin islands,authority, authoritarianism, dictatorship, military regime, military government, fascism, repression, oppression, political oppression, political repression, far right, far right wing, modern fascism,political science, micropolitics, macropolitics, political theory, political education, political movements, political thinking, political criticism, poly sci, polysci, political sci, political sciences, political history, history of politics, political systems,human rights, public rights, equal rights, freedom of expression, basic human rights, united nations, activism, human rights activism, human rights council, human rights commission, universal human rights, universal rights,tania libre,cuba,tilda swinton,tania bruguera,gender and communication,Dr. Frank Ochberg,incarceration,tania brugera,psychology,chile,psych ward,the artist's studio,international,"Tania Bruguera",russia,gender,what we do in the shadows,artist biopic,berlin documentary,sara gomez,havana,art incarceration,Tania Libre. Lynn Hershman, 2017.,Leeson,performance art,the great courses phlisfor,iran,cuba libre,lynn hershman,lynn hershman leeson,human potential,intimate scene,breathe 2014,swinton, tilda,swinton,echoes of incarceration,museum,golden gate,artistic activism,psyche,nacho libre,egypt politics,trojan women,spanish,the suspect by L.R.Wright,haunted,censorship,artist,artist studios,Jewish film festival,by the name of tania,motorcycle diaries; "Tania Libre"; Pragda Films
No clips are available yet.

Berlin Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival - The Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award
Museum of Modern Art New York

DIRECTOR: Lynn Hershman Leeson

NATIONALITY: Cuba, United States, Germany

YEAR: 2017

GENRE: Documentary

LANGUAGE: English; Spanish

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



Existing customers, please log in to view this film.

New to Pragda? Register to request a quote.