Film Review: CHICO AND RITA.

Directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando.

Written by Trueba and Ignacio Martinez de Pison.

In Spanish with some English language and English subtitles.

The voices are done by Emar Xor Ona, Limara Meneses, Mariw Guerra, Lenny Mandel, the vocals by Idania Valdes.

More and more, animation is not just for kids. I will eventually persuade my husband of this, but in the meantime I think a lot of people might enjoy this film.

PLOT: Two Havana musicians, Chico, a pianist and Rita, a singer, meet in the forties. Chico has trouble with fidelity and that eventually separates the couple who makes beautiful music together. The early scenes of 1948 Cuba show us an exciting blend of jazz and Afro-Cuban music. When Chico fills in for Woody Herman’s pianist; he and Rita meet, win a talent contest and a record deal that quickly produces a winning record.

They take a ship to America and the big time.

In New York, various things like infidelity and people eager to separate them gets in their way, and neither ends up having the career they might have shared. Chico is deported and it is not until many years later, when he is rediscovered, that the two meet again.

A lot of this seems like pretty standard fare—musicians and infidelity is a pretty stale theme—but the music, the animation, the glimpses of 1940s Cuba and 1950s New York keeps it fresh. It will be fun to see if animation has anything to offer adult films or if it’s just a novelty. It worked here pretty well though. Recommended.

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