This Oscar nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites, one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting, and how they come to love each other.
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Juan Carlos Tabío
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Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
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Diego, a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas. First come rejection and suspicion, but also fascination. Fresa y chocolate is the story of a great friendship, that is, a great love between two men, which overcomes incomprehension and intolerance. Written by
Used as an unwitting pawn by his pro-revolutionary colleagues, a naive student (Vladmir Cruz) is encouraged to develop a platonic relationship with a flamboyant gay artist (Jorge Perugorria), whose political allegiances have fallen under suspicion. But as their friendship deepens, Cruz is transformed by Perugorria's resistance to the Cuban regime, even as the forces of oppression begin to close around them.
Based on a short story ('El Lobo, el Bosque y el Hombre Nuevo') by screenwriter Senel Paz, STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE is a joyous celebration of life and non-conformity, distinguished by Perugorria's vivid performance as a self-proclaimed 'outsider' who rejects his friend's unquestioning loyalty to the Cuban political system that is stifling their beloved homeland. Their budding relationship is complicated by Perugorria's unrequited love for Cruz, depicted here with dignity and compassion, though it's their political differences which ultimately unite the two characters, even as Perugorria is forced to reap the whirlwind of his public defiance. Also starring Mirta Ibarra as Perugorria's flaky neighbor, who introduces virginal Cruz to the joys of sexual liberation! It isn't a terribly cinematic film, but production values are solid, and the characters are played with such integrity, it hardly matters; this is a movie in which ideas take precedence over action, and the emotional payoff is quite powerful indeed. Beautiful music score by Jose Maria Vitier, too. Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío.
NB. The original US version (released by Miramax) is missing approximately six minutes of footage. Absent material includes a brief conversation about racism during Cruz's first visit to Perugorria's apartment, and a sad little sequence in which the two characters pretend not to notice each other after meeting by accident in a bookstore.
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