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Review - Chico & Rita (15)

Lauren Steadman is transported to 1940s Havana in this tale of love and music

Published on November 24th 2010.

Review - Chico & Rita (15)

The long-forgotten glamour of 1940s Havana forms the backdrop of an animation that’s strictly for adults. Steamy love story Chico & Rita transports viewers back to an age when Cuba’s battered bangers still shone and hotspots like Club Tropicana were packed with American playboys.

At once intensely personal and a wider reflection on the post-revolutionary nation’s woes, it’s a beautifully realised portrait of one of the world’s most romantic cities.Talented jazz pianist Chico woos curvy chanteuse Rita and persuades her to join his band. But when her singing career sky rockets, they face heartbreak when she moves to New York.

He follows her to the States, but fate intervenes to split the sparring lovers once and for all. Anyone who’s visited Cuba will find the country portrayed both instantly recognisable and as alien as US accents in modern Havana.

It’s a poignant tale with a terrific soundtrack courtesy of Cuban musician Bebo Valdes that manages to move despite its predictable climax.


Chico & Rita runs at the Cornerhouse (in Spanish with English subtitles) from Cornerhouse from Friday, November 19, for at least two weeks.

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