Thursday, March 29, 2012
Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba's buoyant, brooding Chico & Rita is a cool, spicy salsa of love, jealousy, politics, betrayal, and fame. It pulsates with glamorous images, sensual yearning, vintage cars and non-stop music in a sprawling romantic drama of sex, drugs, and Bebop jazz that stretches from pre-Revolutionary Cuba to Broadway, Hollywood, Paris, Las Vegas, and finally back again to the Cuba of Castro.
To call this exotic whirlwind of a movie animated is an understatement. But in this case, it's literally true. Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Academy Awards, Chico & Rita was a surprise Spanish-language entry that went mano-a-mano against the likes of Puss In Boots and Rango.
And as much as I adored Rango (which won), for sheer visual artistry, Chico & Rita deserved to dance away with the prize.
The film is a collaboration between Trueba (an Oscar-winner for Belle Epoch, awhile ago) and Spanish artist Javier Mariscal—comic book illustrator, furniture designer, and one-man graphic arts explosion. (Read more.)