This year we had the honor of receiving the recognized Spanish cinema director Fernando Trueba in our Anima Mundi Festival in Rio de Janeiro! He came specially to present and make comments about his new movie, the animation feature Chico & Rita.
Fernando Trueba is the author behind remarkable movies, such as Belle Époque, Oscar winning for best foreigner movie in 1993. He did also a film in Brazil, called Milagre Candeal, a documentary that promotes the encounter between the Cuban musician Bebo Valdez and the Brazilian Carlinhos Brown.
Chico & Rita is Trueba’s first attempt of using the animations language and technique. He told us that the main reason why he decided to do this project was his big admiration for his friend and co-director, Javier Mariscal, a renowned graphic artist from Cataluña who had always dreamed of doing an animation. The film has also a third director, Tonio Errando, Mariscal’s brother, who was in charge of supervising the animations, which were being made in studios spread all over the world. The audience was absolutely enchanted by the movie and its beautiful and sensual images embraced by high quality songs as sound track.
Marcos Magalhães, one of the festival’s director, joint Trueba in the stage after the exhibition of the film to have a little chat with the director and the audience. First, he was curious to know from Fernando which were the advantages and disadvantages of doing an animation movie in comparison to a normal life action film. Fernando said that one of the most difficult aspects of doing an animation is that it takes too much time to be ready. “We are one person when we start the movie and another when we finish it”. In spite of the differences during the production, he said he loved doing it and he has projects to start new animation movies.
To be able to direct the animators, Trueba had to take advantage of his experience with life action movies. So he decided to shoot the whole story with actors, in Cuba, setting also the camera angles. These scenes, however, weren’t reproduced in the animation through the use of rotoscopy. They served only as a reference for the animators to redraw everything and animate. The fact that the animation work would be divided in different studios all over the globe was one of the main reasons for that. The film has scenes that were animated in Spain, Hungry, Filipinas, Lithonia and even Brazil (Lightstar Studio, in São Paulo), so it was necessary to have a clear model to base on as well as a strong reference of the movements and Mariscal’s precision as art director.
Fernando defines the movie as a musical. Normally directors do the screenplay and then, after the film is ready, they add the sound track. Chico & Rita wasn’t made like that. The screenplay was written at the same time the sound tracks were chosen (classics of the Cuban music and the American Bebop), in a way that the lyrics and the songs could help telling and conducting the story. As our other guest, Shinichiro Watanabe, Trueba is a huge fan of music, especially jazz, and for him it was an enormous pleasure to record this amazing songs for the film
We hope that Trueba keeps up doing animations. Chico & Rita has already become a classic! The magic of the movie was spread all over Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, carried by the ones who have seen it and loved it.