Cuban Film Watch: Chico & Rita (2010)

Welcome to the very first part of our Cuban Film Watch series, in which we will introduce you to a wide range of Cuban cinema. Our first film of this series is the 2010 animated feature, Chico & Rita.

Chico & Rita tells the story of two Cuban musicians and their turbulent romantic relationship. We follow them throughout their lives as they constantly run into each other during their careers, which go from Havana to New York.

The animated film tells a fairly well-known classic romance tale; the couple who cannot seem to live with or without each other. Chico & Rita is unique however, this is because it is set in Havana and portrays a vivid picture of the Cuban music scene in the 1940’s. Because it is animated, the settings look even more vibrant and create a great atmosphere. The scenes in New York also have this quality in them, which shows a great skill on the animator’s part.

The film switches back and forth in time a lot; we see Chico (now in his 70’s) lamenting all of the missed opportunities he had in his youth, along with his reminiscing of the great times he had with Rita. As the film progresses, these reflective moments get more and more emotional as we realise how much Chico has lost over the years.

The music in Chico & Rita is the strongest aspect. Since it is about two musicians, this is to be expected. The music helps pack the emotional punch this film has. Overall, Chico & Rita is an enjoyable film; if you like films about Cuban music or history, or even if you just enjoy romantic films, you will enjoy this.