Amidst the swashbuckling felines, fast-talking lizards, and kung-fu pandas — plus a cat in Paris — that occupy this year’s Oscar nominees for animated feature, there’s actually a tale featuring human beings, stylized though they may be. In CHICO & RITA, live-action director Fernando Trueba (BELLE EPOQUE) joins forces with artist/designer Javier Mariscal and his brother Tono Errando to tell the colorful and wide-ranging story of talented singer Rita and the equally talented — and perpetually reprobate — composer and pianist Chico as they forge their careers in the jazz hotbed of Havana in the late ’40′s and thence to America and possible fame and fortune. The going will not be easy — love will be squandered and egos crushed — but animation, done in an attractive, computer-enhanced graphic novel style (and featuring a touch of full-frontal nudity), is beautiful and the music, courtesy of jazz legend Bebo Valdés, is hot. Rango can go sit on a rock.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Trueba, Mariscal, and Errando.