Chico & Rita (PG) * * * * *

1
386

Hot Blooded Latino Romance Comes Highly Recommended And An Oscar Nomination

By ALAN SAMUEL

Animated films have come of age over the last decade and Hollywood no longer has a monopoly on quality or originality.  Set your sights to romantic and hot-blooded Cuba to take in the sights and sounds of Chico & Rita, a dazzling display of love and lust now playing for four special showings at the Van City Vancouver Film Festival Theatre.  Treat your special someone to a memorable Valentine’s Day weekend by taking in this highly heralded gem from Spain that’s this nation’s entry for Oscar gold come this February.

All the glamour and intrigue of 1940s Cuba unfolds in this smartly written visually stunning treat from joint directors Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal.  Boldly they go into unchartered territory in this tropical paradise as we chart the troubled lives of a lowly piano player on the rise and an equally inexperienced singer trying to earn a living.  Life in those days was tough and struggle meant everything for both Chico and Rita.  Each plays the rounds at various night clubs in Havana until one day they meet.  Why it may be love at first sight for the guy the woman isn’t so sure.

What Chico and his buddy need is a singer to enhance their act and not before long he falls head over heels for this Latin lovely.  Just when you think the feeling may be mutual scores of problems develop between them, not the least of which being outside pursuers.  Hot and cold goes their relationship and this strain sees them grow apart.  Rita’s dreams take her to New York and then Chico follows suit. In the Big Apple each becomes engulfed in more of a convoluted romantic relationship which sees their true feelings put to the ultimate test.

Full of life Chico & Rita sizzles with great songs, beautiful choreography and truly memorable characters.  Limara Meneses sings up a storm as the sultry chanteuse who will have you in the palm of her hands while Eman xor Ona embodies that puppy dog droopy eyed feeling of a guy lost in love like a deer in the headlights. Outside characters that influence our lovebirds’ lives include evil managers and greedy lovers wanting to take advantage of the naivety of both these young performers.

Chico & Rita has a great look to it and it feels oh so real.  Adult in tone, it deftly looks at the carnal appetites of two people embroiled in struggle in the world of music. Nostalgia grips the screen as you can’t help but be completely transformed into this wondrous era of a vibrant Cuba complete with the hopes and desires of two young entertainers out to conquer the world but finding their personal lives intertwined in turmoil that will leave you reeling.

SHOWTIMES:

Friday      Feb. 10         6:30 PM

Saturday Feb. 11          3:00 PM

Tuesday   Feb. 14         8:30 PM

Thursday  Feb. 16         8:30 PM

For ticket information go to www.viff.org or call (604) 683-3456

Comments are closed.