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Movie Reviews

Chico and Rita



Released: December 5th 2010 UK)

Director:Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal

Stars:Mario Guerra, Limara Meneses

Certificate:15 (UK)

Reviewer: Christopher Ejzu

The story is set in 1940s Cuba and revolves around 2 central characters: Chico (voiced by Eman Xor Oña), a young piano player with aspirations to reach the top and Rita (voiced byLimara Meneses), a beautiful singer who also has dreams of fame and an extraordinary voice. They are united by their desires for recognition and their passion for music. However, the road they travel is laced with heartbreak and impossibility that constantly pulls them apart.

The story is one of simplicity; a love between two people, fuelled by music and the heat of the moment. However, it does not entertain the masses by giving them a straight cut love story where everyone ends up happy. The trials and tribulations that each character goes through helps the story in terms of integrity, and aids in putting the point across of how you want love to be is different to what love actually is. Even though it may be said that this kind of story has been done before, it would be fair to say that Chico and Rita rejuvenates the approach, especially by the way it is traditionally animated.

The animation works well with the context of the film; the traditional 2D approach helps replicate to 40s Cuban environment, whether the scenes involves lack of movement or fast paced scenarios. However, the style also works well in the other landscapes represented during the time period, such as New York, Hollywood and Paris.

Another highlight in the film (and probably the strongpoint of the film) is the soundtrack featured. Vibrant jazz pieces composed by Cuban musician Bebo Valdés really help to secure the film’s authenticity that it will be remembered for.

The only negative view I would have to take on the film would be the pace. Even though the story was eventful, it lacked engagement at times due to less material being offered. However, there were parts of the film where silence was utilised and worked well in helping reflect on what just happed or what was happening.

Originally a collaboration between Oscar award winning director Fernando Trueba and artist Javier Mariscal that started ten years ago, they’ve both come together to direct “Chico and Rita; a quite enjoyable film that has a relaxed style of animation throughout. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (there is mild nudity near the beginning), it is definitely worth watching when you get the chance.

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