Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chico & Rita 



"Chico and Rita is an appealing curio — an animated film from Spanish director Fernando Trueba (Belle epoque) about a young couple who meet in Havana in 1948. Chico’s a talented jazz pianist, Rita’s a sultry singer. [...]

Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque) and Spain’s most famous designer Javier Mariscal have collaborated on the animation.

The music, featuring Cuban rhythms and American bebop, is sensational — and the visuals, by the great designer Javier Mariscal, are ravishing, especially his cityscapes of New York, Vegas and pre‑revolutionary Havana."
the Telegraph

I feel like I've been waiting for this kind of film, all of my life. An animated tale of two star-crossed lovers set in New York and Havana with a backdrop of 1950s Jazz, all gorgeously designed by Javier Marsical. The beauty of the city, the colours of Cuba, the big band music of the day are enough to make me want to see what looks like a precious little gift. Add to that the director of a fondly remembered "Belle Epoque" and a design hero and it's almost too much to bear.

My own feeble attempts at capturing a story using this music, set in this era were, let's be polite shall we, "unfulfilled" (24hr. Man, and Salt Peanuts may remain my only sad contribution to the oeuvre). It's currently entered in the Toronto International Film Festival where I doubt I will be able to see it, so I'm hoping it finds a North American distributor and we'll be seeing it this autumn. Whether it's an international hit or merely a pretty bauble remains to be seen, but from the trailer above I'm salivating at the chance of seeing it.

Another beautiful animated film may be equally hard to see. "The Illusionist" is a new film by the makers of "The Triplets of Bellville" based on an original Jacques Tati script. It's not a surprise that while animated films have become blockbuster box office staples in the States, only European film makers continue to explore the merging of digital composition, 3D CGI and traditional techniques to create an entirely new experience.

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