Fresa y Chocolate - DVD cover

Strawberry and Chocolate

Country: Cuba
Release Date: 1994
Genre(s): Drama / Comedy
Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío
Cast: Jorge Perugorría, Vladimir Cruz, Mirta Ibarra, Francisco Gattorno
Awards: Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear; Goya Awards: Best Spanish-Language Foreign Film;Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize ...

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Strawberry and Chocolate

Fresa y Chocolate - sceneStrawberry and Chocolate (Spanish: Fresa y chocolate) is a Cuban-Spanish-Mexican co-produced film, directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, based on the short story “The Wolf, The Forest and the New Man” (in Spanish, El Lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo) written by Senel Paz in 1990. Senel Paz also wrote the screenplay for the film.

This film was the first Cuban picture to be nominated for best foreign picture at the Academy Awards.


Plot

The story takes place in Havana, Cuba in 1979. David (Vladimir Cruz) is a university student full of prejudices and doctrinaire ideas.  Diego (Jorge Perugorría) is a gay artist unhappy with Castro’s regime. Diego initiates a friendship with David with the intention of seducing him. David, knowing this, allows the relationship to build so he can spy on a person he sees as aberrant and dangerous to the communist cause. Despite their conflicting sexualities and political ideologies the two slowly build a relationship out of their differences, proving that camaraderie and friendship can overcome incomprehension and intolerance.


Awards

  • Goya Awards: Best Spanish-Language Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera de Habla Hispana)
  • ACE awards: Best Film; Best Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío; Best Actor:  Jorge Perugorría; Best Supporting Actor: Vladimir Cruz
  • Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera)
  • Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize: Special Mention
  • Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear; Special Jury Prize; Teddy—Best Feature Film
  • Gramado Film Festival (Brazil): Audience Award; Kikito Critics Prize; Golden Kikito: Best Latin Film, Best Actor (tie between Cruz and Perugorría) and Best Supporting Actress (Mirta Ibarra)
  • Havana Film Festival: Grand Coral—First Prize; Audience Award; FIPRESCI Prize; OCIC Award; ARCI-NOVA Award;  Best Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío; Best Actor: Jorge Perugorría, Best Supporting Actress: Mirta Ibarra; Best Screenplay.

Data Sheet

Directed by: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío
Produced by: Camilo Vives, Frank Cabrera and Georgina Balzaretti
Written by: Senel Paz
Cast: Jorge Perugorría, Vladimir Cruz, Mirta Ibarra, Francisco Gattorno …
Release date: 1994
Running time: 108 min
Country: Cuba
Language: Spanish

Amazon’s reviews

This charming Cuban film details the unusual relationship between the flamboyant, educated Diego (Jorge Perugorría) and the young, homophobic, pro-Revolution David (Vladimir Cruz). Miserable at being dumped by his girlfriend, David at first spurns the attentions of Diego; however, at the prompting of his Communist roommate, Miguel (Francisco Gattorno), he cultivates an acquaintanceship with Diego in order to investigate his liberal leanings. Of course, Diego’s cultured ways prove fascinating to the younger man and a true friendship grows. Add the slightly crazy neighbor Nancy (Mirta Ibarra), who frequently attempts suicide, as romantic fodder for David, and this playful drama becomes a heartwarming film. Disputed in its own country, this film was the first Cuban picture to be nominated for best foreign picture at the Academy Awards. –Jenny Brown

From The New Yorker
The Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea charts the efforts of Diego (Jorge Perugorria), a gay artist, to seduce David (Vladimir Cruz), a straight and, frankly, rather boring student. Their flirtation starts over dishes of ice cream (hence the title) and, rather charmingly, never finds fruition in bed. It’s a daring movie to have come out of Cuba, although Gutiérrez Alea’s grasp of the radical temperament may seem unsophisticated to audiences here-he maps the sexual flatly onto the political. Diego kicks out against government restrictions, David lives quietly within them (wouldn’t it have been more intriguing the other way around?), and the performances match the conceptions: Perugorria is camp and winning, Cruz is a lump. But this very naïveté becomes entwined with Gutiérrez Alea’s benevolence. The picture is as much a love letter to Havana as Nanni Moretti’s “Caro Diario” was to Rome. Often the camera just takes in the view, and there’s a genuine wrench at the end when Diego decides to leave. Co-directed by Juan Carlos Tabio; screenplay by Senel Paz. In Spanish. -Anthony Lane

Amazon’s customers reviews

A sincere film that speaks of the Cuban soul
As, I’m assuming, the only Cuban-American to review this film online, I feel especially proud that my country was able to produce such an eloquent, intelligent and all around outstanding film. Many people unacquainted with our customs couldn’t possibly begin to relish the cultural nuances that abound in this film. The slang, the attitudes and all-around mannerisms are unmistakibly Cuban and to me it was as if though I were watching a home movie of some old friends. Rarely, have I related to characters the way I did to David, Diego and Nancy. Jorge Perrugoria’s Diego is a triumph. Anyone familiar with what’s regarded as the quitessential Cuban homosexual (cultured, well-read, opera and ballet loving) will be able to savor this performance like a fine wine; it is absolute perfection. It is hard to believe that he is, in reality, heterosexual. He is just too, too perfect. The fact that this film captures the essence of Cuba is both a revelation and a devestation. One is made to see the crumbling glory that is Havana and it almost inspires heartbreak. Nevertheless, a terrific film through and through and one that I can’t recommend enough!

Wonderful film that transcends stereotypes
The Cuban film, “Fresa y Chocolate,” is the story of friendship between a young student (a loyal member of the Communist Party), and a gay political activist, who is critical of the government’s censorship. It is an amazing film for a number of reasons. First, it presents a balanced and somewhat critical view of the Cuban political system. This is surprising since it was co-produced by ICAIC, essentially the official Cuban film production company. Second, though the main characters start out as stereotypes, they develop into very real people who go beyond what the audience would expect.

Considered by many to have been a major catalyst in improving the treatment of gays in Cuba; this film presents a rich and interesting view of Cuban society.

Images

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Fresa y Chocolate - DVD cover
Fresa y Chocolate - poster
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Fresa y Chocolate - scene
Fresa y Chocolate - scene

Trailers

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Strawberry and Chocolate
Strawberry and Chocolate (Spanish: Fresa y chocolate) is a Cuban-Spanish-Mexican co-produced film, directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, based on the short story “The Wolf, The Forest and the New Man” (in Spanish, El Lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo) written by Senel Paz in...
Posted 18 Mar 2011

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2 Comments

  1. [...] mi madre de Pedro Almodóvar, 1999 (España)El ángel exterminador de Luis Buñuel, 1962 (México)Fresa y chocolate de Tomás Gutiérrez Alea y Juan Carlos Tabío, 1994 (Cuba)Estación Central de Walter Salles, 1998 [...]

  2. [...] from IMDB. Is your favourite Cuban movie on the list?Buena Vista Social Club (1999)Soy Cuba (1964)Fresa y chocolate (1994)Habana Blues (2005)Memorias del subdesarrollo (1968)Guantanamera (1995)Lista de espera [...]

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