Chico & Rita

October 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

ON DVD (I am going to start indicating when I see a recent film on DVD instead of in the theater).  To sum this film up, the story is not the story.  A fairly simple love story, I would hardly recommend this film so strongly based on that.  However, the true story of the film, and it’s true star, is the beautiful cityscapes.  Taking place in Havana, New York, Paris and Las Vegas between the 1940s and the present, the pen and ink animation creates a beautiful moodiness to each city with backdrops that seem more like watercolors than an animated movie.  Unfortunately, the people are animated in a much more rudimentary way, though the animation technique (ie tracing and then hand coloring film stills of live actors in front of green screens) does lead to very natural movements.  But, like I said, the people and their individual stories are far less compelling than the overall vibe of the movie, with it’s gorgeous period scenery and lavish Cuban/Jazz music.  The whole film feels exuberant and full of life.  I don’t want to appear to be panning the love story; it is far from a simple one and does a decent job of presenting the complexities and ambivalences of these two performers over the decades of their relationship.  I don’t want anyone to get the impression this is some Jennifer Garner-esque romantic comedy; it is far more complex than that.  I am just saying that the strength of this film is the music and the visuals.  The images reminded me a lot of 2010’s “The Illusionist,” though this film is not as good as that one.  In the end, you may or may not fall in love with Chico and Rita but everyone will fall in love with their Havana.  By the way, this is not a children’s film, as it contains a little bit of each of the following: violence, profanity, drugs, sex, full frontal nudity and erect nipples.

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