Lenny Mandel, Limara Meneses and others.
Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal.
Chico and Rita is technically the first 2012 movie i have seen and even for now right at this very moment it is the only one. So this is a Spanish animated movie that i wouldn't have known about or interested in watching if it didn't got all the Oscar buzz and then a Oscar nomination. The Illusionist was the last foreign animated movie that i saw which was a breathtaking masterpiece while this one may not be that still it is no less. Chico and Rita is this timeless, epic and sweeping love story like Gone with the Wind or any other movies of the sort told in very simple narration against the backdrop of wonderful Jazz music. This is an adult animation with quite mature storytelling and literally effective characters that might not look quite expressive as the computer animated characters but still they are believable and their impact one the viewer is just superb. The movie starts with them in their native city Havana in Cuba and continues like any other big epic love stories through cities and time periods of their life like New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris during the late 1940's and 1950's. Movie starts with the old Chico looking over at his past and that is how the movie continues in a long flashback, they both performed over 60 years ago in a contest and that song is being played right on the radio and that is when the movie goes back to 1948. Chico lays eyes upon Rita at a local bar where he is with his friend Ramon and finds her utterly charming, beautiful and is wooed by her singling talent. Chico somehow finds an offer to fill in the place of a pianist in the band which was due to perform, he comes off first as nervous but audience gets stunned with his talent and so does Rita who agrees to flee in with him and his friend plus his lady friends. After a wild chase between them and Rita's American tourist friend they somehow gets away and Rita spends the night with Chico.
Chico's former girlfriend walks up on them the morning and a huge fight brews up and both of them leave. The competition happen where they win and a man offers Rita a job in New York City which she always dreamed of, Chico very jealous watching them both in such deep conversation believes she is leaving him but instead Rita wants Ron to include Chico in the offer too. The movie continues like this with their passion and mad love for the music, jazz and their dreams comes in between their relationship. It looks like they are so madly in love that they break easily when other things come in between but somehow manages to find each other again. Like a timeless love story this movie continues, while Rita is now a big Hollywood star and Chico a musician living in Paris with his girlfriend they still aren't happy. They got what they always wanted, they have everything but aren't happy because they aren't together. Chico and Rita ends up meeting each other and gets away somehow but then a big plot twist comes which would then mean Chico and Rita to never re-unite again. Chico and Rita is visually dazzling and verbally superb animation, the wonderful Latino Jazz music and those ballads made purely for this movie by renowned musician just gets you. Jazz literally acts like a different character with a identity of his own, Jazz has a really strong presence throughout the movie that breaks and binds these two souls together no matter what happens. The score of this movie is very eargasmic, i am a big fan of this genre of music but that is another thing that i don't listen quite a lot still it holds that special place in my heart that no other type of music in particular does. I think more than the story or the characters, you fall in love very hard with the music just like Chico and Rita do even that effects their feeling towards each other, you kind of end up feeling the same intensity.
The animation style is very different and might end up putting off certain audience which is a shame as to judge a movie by its style of presenting a story rather than how much effective or non effective the impact of it is. I loved the weird animation and the camera angles which looks like nothing more than a dream, like a sensual, sexy, mesmerizing dream when you are passed out drunk while Jazz music is playing everywhere around you. The end of the movie as much bitter sweet it is like most of the epic romantic dramas deserves the tenderness that you feel towards it, just pure crying moment that time. This movie presents such themes as drugs, violence, politics and racism and isn't afraid of doing so. I like how the filmmakers literally used those themes accurately as per the requirement of the story rather than bombarded the whole story. A superb animation that honestly deserved the acclaim and i love how amazing these foreign animated movies are in front of the much more eye popping Hollywood ones. The thing is that in quite low budget, hand drawn animation and not preferring style over substance, they presents us with such different stories that otherwise a usual filmmaker wont even consider presenting through animation.