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Lynn Hershman Leeson
Tania Libre

Tania Libre is a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson centered around renowned artist Tania Bruguera and her experience as a political artist and activist under the repressive government of her native Cuba. The film begins with the voice of Tilda Swinton narrating a manifesto of artists’ rights written by Bruguera in which she expresses her views on art, our universal right to both enjoy and create art, and the duty that artists have to dissent. The film then captures a series of therapy sessions between Bruguera and Dr. Frank M. Ochberg—the founding father of trauma therapy, particularly PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome—where Bruguera describes with great candor and earnestness several traumatic experiences such as the betrayal by her father who handed her to Cuban secret service, and her imprisonment in Havana years later after advocating for freedom of expression. Their conversations expose an intimate yet profound analysis of Cuba, surveillance and the politics of repression embedded in government and family structures.

Lynn Hershman Leeson is a celebrated Bay Area artist and filmmaker internationally renowned for her pioneering use of new technologies to explore key social issues. Her prolific body of work spans over four decades: from her early conceptual and performance works where she constructed an ‘official’ civilian record for her alter ego Roberta Breitmore, to her more recent works that intersect with the field of science to explore themes of identity, privacy, surveillance and the complex relationship between humans and technology, and the real and the virtual world. Hershman Leeson also addresses these key themes through her filmmaking, which is highly idiosyncratic and socially engaged. A notable example is her acclaimed documentary !Women Art Revolution, which focuses on the Feminist movement in the USA.