Thursday, June 09, 2011

Chico and Rita

I don't know if you realize that it is not easy to find some good movie clips that have at least some sort of interesting things to talk about... So, if you don't see new things here, it may mean that I am still looking, and didn't give up. Here is a new thing for you to reflect upon. I like this movie a lot. Watching it, you may agree that the animation truly sets itself apart from others. Just watch the facial expressions, the body language and the movements of the characters. Some critics say that these animated characters "act" better than many real sub par movie stars. This is a short 6 minute 57 second clip from the beginning of the film. If you want to know more about this love story, get the movie, some popcorn, kick up your heels and enjoy it. The sound track is very good and the animation is one of a kind. Here is some information for you...

Chico and Rita is an animated feature-length film directed by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal. The story of Chico and Rita is set against backdrops of Havana, New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris in the late 1940s and early '50s.

A gifted songwriter and beautiful singer chase their dreams – and each other – from Havana to New York and Las Vegas. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unite them, but their journey – in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero – brings heartache and torment.

Director Fernando Trueba met designer and artist Javier Mariscal ten years ago. Together, they wanted to make an animated feature film set against the Havana music scene in the late-40s and 50s.

Before drawing the locations in Cuba, Mariscal completed an intense research trip. Although the economic stagnation of the Castro regime has spared Havana the ravages of rapid development in the past five decades, many of the buildings from that era have suffered from decay. But the film-makers came across a treasure trove when they discovered that the city government of the time had assembled an archive of photographs to help with street repairs. They found pictures of every street corner in Havana from 1949.

The team also found pictures taken inside the planes ferrying Americans to the party island. Mariscal explained that the planes arriving from New York, Washington and Miami during that period were filled with Cuban musicians entertaining the passengers. They provided lots of information about the Cubans of that era, the clothes, the faces, the streets, billboards, cars, bars, the way they lived, the incredible life of Havana.

The film appeared at the following film festivals:

Telluride Film Festival on September 4, 2010
Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010
London Spanish Film festival on 6 October 2010
London Latin American Film Festival in November 2010
Holland Animation Film Festival in November 2010

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributed the film in 100 Spanish theaters on February 25, 2010.

The film had a special screening at the Barbican Centre on 25 September. It opened across UK cinemas on 19 November 2010.

Cape Town Design/FilmFest at Design Indaba February 2011
Miami International Film Festival March 2011


The film has an original soundtrack by Cuban pianist, bandleader and composer Bebo Valdés. It features music by Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole.

According to Tono Errando, "it was the moment when new musicians came along like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie with a new kind of music, that is not for dancing, full of notes, played really fast, a music that now we call jazz. Then the Cuban musicians arrived. Dizzy Gillespie has said many times in interviews, there was a moment for him that was very important, it was the moment he first played with Chano Pozo. Pozo was the first percussionist that played in a jazz band."

Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger of the film Bebo Valdés was living in obscurity in Stockholm, when Trueba reintroduced his playing to an international audience with his film Calle 54, and went on to produce the Grammy-winning Lagrimas Negras album, teaming Valdes with flamenco singer Diego “El Cigala”.

Trueba was also able to persuade the real-life flamenco star Estrella Morente, who has been performing since the age of seven, to participate in the film.

Musicians featured in the film include Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Chano Pozo, Tito Puente, Ben Webster, and Thelonious Monk.

Chico and Rita

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