Strawberry and Chocolate (1994)

“Fresa y chocolate” (1994)

Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea; Juan Carlos Tabío

Writer: Senel Paz

Genre: Drama / Comedy


Getting out to the street

Cinema is an art in itself and not a sum of arts. That is because it has specific things that can’t be made alone by any other art. Now, what exactly can make cinema an art of its own is arguable but will always have something to do with passing anything through moving images (or static images dynamics):

. storytelling
. a mood, an atmosphere
. fact

all three are worth exploring. In Fresa y chocolate, the problem is there is an apparent mixture of all three, which can exist, but not like exposed in here. The device was clear and apparently effective: a simple story inside Story. never mind the simple story, it’s the least important. The Story is the whole Cuba context. Go to the general, pick up an episode (that may represent or not, fact) and from there build the mood, the atmosphere. This last step was what failed. And it was for a non definition on the “eye” of the camera. By giving all the ingredients, all the passwords to the contained world (island) and to its specific context, it should have been shown. I’ve been to Cuba, there was not much lacking for me, i know what i didn’t see in the picture, but by focusing on dialog (that could for its meaning come embedded on the mood) and by not having an eye for the street, for the people, for the city, the project lost a big deal. It had everything to be a film about a city. Story inside space, since the story we are told is clearly typical, one in many. it may have been political issues behind, and it is of great importance that this film could have been made, versing such locally heavy themes. But that’s my main critic, Gutiérrez Alea had an excellent eye for portrait, and for placing stories in context, but he lacked the sense of the place, in terms of senses (mood, atmosphere).

Even though a good document, worth watching, excellent character development, excellent performances also. Diego’s house (and the dialogs that go with it) contain excellent underline thoughts, the dialogs are filled (i didn’t read the original story) with messages, in a not so subtle way. Also a note for the excellent use of the color (very Cuban).

My evaluation: 3/5

This comment on IMDb


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