Adio Kerida (Dir: Ruth Behar, 2004)

Running Time: 82 min

A frame from Adio Kerida
Color, Video, Spanish/English

Subject Headings: documentary, Jewish Cuban, identity, displacement

Adio Kerida (Goodbye Dear Love) follows Ruth Behar on her journey back to Cuba, the country of her birth. Ruth and her Jewish family emigrated from Cuba in the 1960’s after the revolution took place and several members of her family lost their businesses. Behar uses this film to search for a community in which to anchor her identity. In fact, identity is a large theme in her film: the Turkish, Spanish, Ashkenazi and Sephardic identities of her Jewish grandparents, the varying cultural, ethnic, and racial identities of Jewish Cubans, her parents’ identities as Jewish Cubans and immigrants to he United States, and her own identity as an anthropologist, tourist, and native in Cuba.

After the Cuban revolution, even though many Jews left, one the ones that remained kept their religion going strong. As Ruth further uncovers the Jewish community in Cuba, she finds people that her parents and grandparents knew when they lived there. Her depiction of these Jewish Cubans shows a vivid and accepting community staying culturally aware of its past while also integrating with Cuban culture and politics. Behar interviews some Jewish leaders involved in the Revolution. She also tells the stories of many who consider themselves Jewish but come from religiously, culturally, and racially mixed families. After Cuba, Behar travels to Miami and relates to Jewish Cuban Americans also struggling to find their own identities. One woman she talks to always wanted to identify as both white and hispanic and is ultimately able to.

Behar makes displacement a large part of her movie, highlighting stories of happy and sad goodbyes. She interviews several Jewish Cubans deciding to move to Israel, which agrees to relocate them, and although they will miss Cuba, these people are happy to be searching for their own identities. Behar also details the long displacement of her family and ancestors, some starting with the inquisition in Spain in the 15th century. Originally Ruth’s ancestors immigrated to Cuba because the United States would not take them, but Ruth later found out that Cuba allowed them to immigrate in order oppress another group, the Afro-Cubans, by making them a minority. Displacement can produce feelings of dislocation and lost identity, but the movie concludes that it has the possibility to produce surprising and sometimes happy endings. Throughout this entire documentary, runs the theme of mixing cultures and identities, which can only occur when people immigrate to new countries and cultures.

Further Information:
Ruth Behar’s website:
Women Make Movies: