Thursday, September 08, 2011
Chico & Rita
Writes Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian: Sexy, sunny and sweet-natured, this lovely animation by film-maker Fernando Trueba and artist and designer Javier Mariscal is a 1940s love story with all the brassy passion of a Barry Manilow number, set in the nightclubs of Havana and New York. Rita, voiced by Limara Meneses, is a beautiful Cuban singer who has to scrape a living; Chico (Eman Xor Oña) is a talented, underemployed pianist thunderstruck with love for Rita when she meanders on stage for a solo. Their passionate affair and professional partnership is endangered when a smooth-talking Yankee impresario tells Rita he can take her to showbiz glory in New York, but has no interest in lover-boy Chico coming along as well. There is a wonderful set-piece when Chico offers to fill in one night for an absent musician in the Woody Herman Orchestra, breezily confident he can busk his way through any jazz number – only to discover he is expected to sight-read the piano part in Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto. The great names of both Cuban and American jazz are invoked, and Chico and Rita's tragicomic love story meshes very pleasingly with this musical backdrop. There is heartbreak, but a happy ending.