Chico & Rita

Rated NR 93 minutes 2010

Slender premise but gratifying payoff for this Spain/UK-production animated feature, the on-again, off-again love story of a pair of mambo-era Cuban performers — sultry chanteuse Rita and jazz-crazy pianist Chico — as they make their way through a brilliantly drawn and re-imagined Havana, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Paris, chasing fame and the spirit of bebop. The settings and the music make the film. They’re the product of Spanish co-directors Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque), Javier Mariscal, and Tono Errando, with original music by composer/musician Bebo Valdés (he does the singing for Chico) sprinkled with musical cameos by such legends as Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, Thelonious Monk, and the tempestuous Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. Chico and Rita’s wistful romance is only a hook on which to hang the art and music – but the tour of their world is well worth taking. The animation was done in the Isle of Man, Barcelona, Madrid, Latvia, Philippines, Hungary, and Brazil. (94 min.)

Film Credits

Director: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando

Producer: Cristina Huete, Santi Errando, Martin Pope, Steve Christian and Marc Samuelson

Cast: Eman Oña, Limara Meneses and Mario Guerra

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Chico & Rita

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