Essential Event Info
CHICO & RITA, February 14 & 15
Showtimes, Venue Location, Directions & Maps
Pricing, How to Purchase
4 Course Prix Fixe Dinner $25 per person.
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Live Music before the Film
Popular chanteuse April Aloisio offers unique vocal styling in English, Spanish and Portuguese, joined by Phil Burkhead on the grand piano.
Live at the Carnegie, Tuesday only.
Read more about April...
Read more about Phil...
or tune in Sunday morning Feb 12, circa 7:30 am to hear Larry's review.
~ A.O. Scott, The New York Times
An epic animated story of love, heartbreak and reunion that celebrates the culture and music of Cuba, Chico & Rita is a feast for the senses:
In Chico & Rita, a gifted songwriter and beautiful singer chase their dreams - and each other - from Havana to New York to Paris and to Las Vegas. This classic love story unfolds in the tradition of a Cuban bolero, as we witness their shared love of music, romantic passion and moments of triumph as well as their heartache and separation.
Told via flashback, the story begins in Havana, 1948. Chico is a young Cuban songwriter and pianist who dreams of making a place for himself in the jazz world. Rita is a beautiful singer with a captivating voice. Music brings them together and they embark on a passionate and tormented love affair. Separately, and together, over the decades they move through the music scene in Cuba and the U.S., performing with many of the luminaries in the jazz world.
While the story line is conventional - love found, lost and regained - the look and the mood of the era are exquisitely captured with a convincing depiction of real people and attitudes of the period. That uniqueness is refreshing. The atmosphere, street scenes, and even the fashions are evocative and the production gives us the leisurely, deliberate pace of natural people. Even the sound effects are spot on, from the way the piano tones echo through a room to footsteps across a floor to the sounds of traffic outside a window, everything has the feel of real life. And, the music is the common thread and a crowning touch. It all comes together beautifully, creating a nostalgic, emotional and memorable experience!
The film is a love letter to a bygone era made by filmmakers who truly appreciate Latin jazz, and the compositions are sumptuous. With the emergence of Latin jazz and its adoption in New York and elsewhere as a parallel theme to the love story, we're immersed in the world of Cuban passion, sensuality and music.
While Chico & Rita is a work of fiction, well-known artists Woody Herman, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Nat King Cole all make appearances, and we also hear the music of Cole Porter and Thelonious Monk. These people give the story a historical foundation. Chano Pozo, a conga player in Gillespie's band, also has a cameo and his untimely death becomes a minor plot point.
Cuban composer and pianist Bebo Valdés wrote the score and plays on the soundtrack as Chico. The movie, which contains parts of his own life, is formally dedicated to him. Idania Valdés (no relation) provides Rita's singing voice. Her performance of Bésame Mucho is one of many standouts.
A truly international effort: Managed from Estudio Mariscal, the hub in Barcelona, the film was crafted at eleven different studios in six countries: the UK, Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Latvia and the Philippines.
Using the rotoscope technique (employed with a similarly stunning effect in A Scanner Darkly and Belleville Rendez-Vous) of capturing the animation from actual live-action scenes, the filmmakers imbue the action and character movements with a realistic, yet floating, dream-like feel, and there's a lovely simplicity to the actual animation that tells the story in a magic and enchanting way.
The inclusion of real-life luminaries from the world of jazz further grounds the film within a realistic and human setting and the level of detail in recreating old Havana and New York is amazing. You'll marvel at the filmmaker's abilities and achievements in breathing life and a genuine sense of love into their characters and the environment they inhabit.
The excellent official website: English, espanol.
Tech Overview & Details
Chico & Rita was co-directed by three Spaniards: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando. They are friends and collaborators who share a passion for Latin Jazz and Cuban music and culture.
Trueba won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film with Belle Epoque (Age of Beauty), his other major works, The Year of Enlightenment, Calle 54, etc., have garnered top awards at prominent festivals and for the past ten years he has edited the Dictionary of Latin Jazz and produced music featuring Bebo Valdes.
Mariscal is a multi-faceted design genius whose accomplishments range from film to furniture to architecture to image and product design.
Errando regularly directs television series, adverts and music videos for Estudio Mariscal; for this project he managed the animation process.