Monday, October 25, 2010

Arte Para la Gente: Love in the time of jazz

Can animation be considered as art? We briefly pondered that question recently while profiling the life of forgotten Argentine animation pioneer Quirino Cristiani, and we'll reexamine that query with Chico and Rita.

Chico and Rita is primarily a love story between two Cubans, the former a dazzling piano player and the latter a stunning jazz singer. They became enamored with each other while growing up in Havana in the 1940s yet their love comes under a great price after they go their separate ways.

Plot aside, the beauty of Chico and Rita comes from the soundtrack scored by celebrated Cuban pianist Bebo Vald├ęs. His music reflects the up-and-coming jazz sounds of the mid-20th century from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo. Furthermore, the visuals are rich and stunning with plenty of attention paid to detail. The Telegraph praised the visuals by designer Javier Mariscal as "ravishing, especially his cityscapes of New York, Vegas and pre‑revolutionary Havana."

Could Chico and Rita be classified as "art"? We'll let you decide for yourself by watching the film's trailer:

Chico and Rita
was released at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and will be featured at other film fests and screenings in Britain starting in November.

Online Sources - The Latin Americanist,, The Telegraph
Video Source - YouTube

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