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Chico & Rita (2010)

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Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Limara Meneses ... Rita (voice)
Eman Xor Oña Eman Xor Oña ... Chico (voice)
Mario Guerra Mario Guerra ... Ramón (voice)
Jon Adams Jon Adams ... (voice)
Renny Arozarena Renny Arozarena ... (voice)
Blanca Rosa Blanco Blanca Rosa Blanco ... (voice)
Jackie de la Nuez Jackie de la Nuez ... (voice) (as Jakie de la Nuez)
Rigoberto Ferrera Rigoberto Ferrera ... (voice)
Ken Forman ... (voice)
Ray Gillon Ray Gillon ... (voice)
Steve Harper ... (voice) (as Michael Harper)
Lenny Mandel ... Ron (voice)
Jorge Ryan Jorge Ryan ... (voice)
Claudia Valdes Claudia Valdes ... (voice) (as Claudia Valdés)
Claudia Valdés Claudia Valdés ... (voice)


Cuba, 1948. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment. From Havana to New York, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas, two passionate individuals battle impossible odds to unite in music and love. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

piano player | piano | singer | cuba | love | See All (64) »


One For All The Hopeless Romantics Out There. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Spain | UK


Spanish | English | French

Release Date:

19 November 2010 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Chico i Rita See more »


Box Office


€9,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£81,172 (United Kingdom), 21 November 2010, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,654, 12 February 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chico is very fortunate to be able to go back to the USA as he was deported from the USA for drug crimes. People deported from the USA must wait a set period of time (usually five, ten, or 20 years) before applying for a re-entry visa. Some people a given a permanent ban e.g. aliens convicted of an aggravated felony (such as illicit trafficking in a controlled substance). See more »


The kitchen in which Chico and Rita eat kidney-bean soup is in the United States. However, a European-style electrical outlet can be seen clearly on one of the walls. See more »


Ramón: Business? That's my business!
See more »

Crazy Credits

A Bebo. See more »


References The Seven Year Itch (1955) See more »


Star Dust
Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish
Performed by Chico & Rita New York Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

lovely - story&music&animation all work together
25 March 2012 | by chuck-526See all my reviews

My local art house showed this, with subtitles (much better than an "English language dub" rumored to appear later), shortly after the Academy Awards. The music -both all the new compositions and some old charts- is wonderful. The story is simple and straightforward, without irony or intricate plot twists or a breathless pace: boy meets girl in the golden age of jazz, and their troubles go on for decades - sometimes art tugs romance, sometimes romance tugs art, and sometimes romance and art tug in opposite directions.

What caught my attention the most was the evocative and interesting animation. Initially it all appears to be "retro" traditional 2D hand drawn cel animation. Characters are composed of areas of uniform colors (a second darker color for the shadowed parts of each block), while background areas have variegated colors (for example wood grain). Backgrounds are extremely detailed and very specific, sort of like a kid's crayon drawing.

I especially noted the incredibly detailed street-scapes with all their readable (not just greeked) signs. Turns out the directors found a trove of archive photos of every street corner in Havana - the city government had assembled it in 1949 to help with street repairs.

Some of the CGI special effects I've come to expect to be merged with hand drawn are included: curling cigar smoke and falling snowflakes. As well there are several other CGI techniques that aren't as familiar to me: gauzy curtains with an embroidered pattern wafting in the breeze; shafts of light with an identifiable source and a direction illuminating not only themselves but also bits of the dark places where they fall; dynamic shadows that change as characters move; lighted signs whose parts change from "on" to "off" and back to "on" at different times.

But on closer examination it doesn't feel like it's really just plain old traditional 2D hand drawn cel animation after all. One big giveaway is that nearly every scene has the complexity I'd expect only at the film's peak: for example movements of dancers _and_ of the band and their instruments _and_ other patrons _and_ people outside _and_ the traffic. Typically there's simultaneous movement in so many different planes I gave up trying to identify layers. The scene where an automobile disassembled itself into thirty or so pieces that fly off in all directions in slow motion would be a tour-de-force for traditional 2D cel animation, but here it's just part of the flow. Nor am I used to seeing an animated audience applauding where every single hand is distinguishable and seems to move separately. In one scene an auto drives around the corner we're looking at - static street-scape, moving auto, just standard 2D cel stuff, right? But wait! The tire is drawn a bit lopsided, and it retains that bulge as it rotates ...it's not redrawn! So could you have a tire on its own cel separate from the car and move it so it appeared to rotate? Theoretically maybe, but not likely. And, once in a while the camera takes flight and the whole scene rotates continuously and smoothly as the point of view moves. Other things must be going on here.

Information on YouTube and elsewhere on the web doesn't go into a whole lot of detail about animation technique, typically not mentioning much more than that the apparent animation style is what was common in the period evoked by the film. Software ("ToonBoom Harmony") shared the animation pipeline so about 200 animators in 11 studios in six different countries (Brazil, Spain, Isle of Man, Latvia, Hungary and Philippines) could collaborate easily. (That software also enabled the collaboration on "The Secret of Kells" a couple years ago.) Additional software ("HoBSoft", now very closely integrated with ToonBoom Harmony) provided very easy pipeline task management; in software terms it can be thought of as an additional layer on top of ToonBoom Harmony. "Final Cut Pro" and "TVPaint" software were also deeply involved in the production.

As they describe it: "The entire movie is filmed with live action actors. -The sets include dummy objects and tracker marks for camera tracking. - The live action shots are edited in Final Cut Pro and becomes the live action version of the animatic. - Approximately 2 frames of every second of live action is traced in TV-Paint and becomes the drawn version of the animatic. - The traced frames are printed on paper, pegged and sent through a classical 2D hand drawn production pipeline with rough animation, key animation, clean up, ink & paint and compositing. - The live action shots are used to create backgrounds in either 2D, 2-1/2D or 3D where 2-1/2D refers to 2D elements positioned in a 3D universe. - All 2D animation and coloring is done in ToonBoom Harmony". Most often a 2D process was used; yet 3D was necessary in several places.

My interpretation of their words is the process was somewhere in between i) giving photos to animators for "reference" and ii) brute force motion capture. Also, it sounds as if (I'm not certain) the live action film was _automatically_ rotoscoped by the computer and became the "first rough draft" (the "animatic").

Although neither outlines nor still characters visibly keep moving, the characters have a little bit of the "dizzy" feel of something done with Bob Sabiston's "Rotoshop" that practically defined avant-garde animation a decade ago (backgrounds are rock solid though). In closeups the facial features keep morphing a bit, as though an in-betweener had drunk too much coffee. And once in a while a character's face freezes completely, almost as if an in-betweener had just plain forgotten to produce a few cels. (I hoped to find out a bit more, but the "freeze frame" button on my DVD remote doesn't do anything when I point it at the theater screen:-)

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