Chico & Rita

Over the next few weeks I will be uploading as many brief reviews as I can manage, from films that I come across at the Miami International Film Festival. I’m going to be writing them on an iPad, and uploading them whenever I come across free Wi-Fi, so please excuse any poor grammar and spelling mistakes! I’m also going to take photos of all the tickets on my iPhone just for fun. If you agree or disagree with anything I write, please let me know via the comments! Also, if you’re at the festival this year, let us know!

This was the opening film at the Miami International Film Festival which showcased in quiet yet arty downtown Miami. A beautifully animated film, set in one of the greatest periods of creativity in Cuban-American jazz, is about the relationship between a talented and handsome, yet unstable piano player, Chico, and an equally incredible and enchanting singer, Rita, who’s not exactly sure what she wants in life – struggling with issues such as true love and fame.

The film looked amazing thanks to the fact that they filmed everything before animating it to ensure that all the camera moves and lighting looked authentic, and the sound design and score was incredible – with some seriously beautiful songs throughout the film. However personally, the story and script seemed to lack real heart and substance – that said the audience really seemed to connect with the film on a level that I seemed to miss. I think you not only needed to speak the language to get some of the jokes (some things were lost in the sub-titles it seems), but also to truly connect with the world of the film.

The story spanned several years, starting with Chico and Rita’s first meeting, then following along as their relationship develops, crashes, then reforms again. It’s a simple story (a potentially beautiful relationship constantly thrown into disarray due to unfortunate circumstances) with some really funny moments, and some really interesting characters, but I was never really able to relate to the main characters – and I felt like some of the minor characters were also very shallow. I felt for them at times, but never really went along with them for the whole ride. Overall, a good film – with a really great soundtrack (which sounded amazing in a big theatre), and it was definitely visually stunning, but not a story that I could really relate to on a deep personal level. However, I do think I saw it in the perfect environment, as the audience seemed to really go along for the ride, and get all the “in jokes” that went completely over my head. Definitely a great start to the festival! I can’t wait to see what else is in store…