This hot Cuban love story has it all—passion, beauty, heartbreak, the cruelty of fate, the force of destiny, and sensationally good music by Bebo Valdez, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. Diz even makes an appearance in the film. And this whole mix has double the spellbinding force you would expect because there isn't an actor or actress in it. The entire feature-length story is animated.
The hand-drawn artwork is fluid and naturalistic, the lines clearer and colors richer than real life. For some reason, even though (or perhaps because) this story is animated, the sensuality is more sensual and the characters are more compelling than if presented more conventionally.
The setting is Havana in 1948, where the title characters meet through their devotion to music. Inevitably it moves to New York City in the same era. Part of the visual pleasure here is the careful way the artists capture the details of the period, the automobiles and threads of the post-war era, the very look of the city as it must have been then. Of course the politics of the day and the inevitable sundering of US-Cuban relations figures into the plot, giving it an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy. Happy ending or sad? We're not telling.
Wed, Jun 13th 8:00pm
Castle Theater - Maui Arts & Cultural Center