Chico & Rita | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 93 minutes · 2010

Animated, Drama, Musical, Romance
The postwar heyday of Cuban jazz provides a colorful, tuneful backdrop to this feature animation about two lovers whose music careers constantly pull them away from each other. Chico, known as the best jazz pianist in Havana, hears Rita singing at a club and instantly falls for her, but she's repelled by his casual girlfriends and eventually allows a well-connected sugar daddy to arrange her professional debut in New York City. The rudimentary 2-D animation doesn't allow for much character nuance, and the story isn't exactly fresh. But directors Fernando Trueba (Calle 54), Javier Mariscal, and Tono Errando conjure up some vibrant set pieces (particularly a posterized montage of American pop culture as Chico dreams of Rita's life in the U.S.), and there are cartoon guest appearances by Woody Herman, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and the ground-breaking Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo (who, true to his legend, is shot to death in a Harlem bar over a drug deal gone bad). In English and subtitled Spanish.
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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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