Strawberry and Chocolate

Director: Tomas Gutierrez

This new comedy from Cuba is a gem. Filled with malicious swipes against the Castro regime, it’s a provocative but very humane comedy about sexual opposites. David (Vladimir Cruz) is a macho but naive and inexperienced youth who believes passionately in communism and the Cuban Revolution. He’s an idealist who has accepted the official line on everything, but his knowledge is scantly. Depressed because his girlfriend has married another man, he’s at a loose end when he runs into Diego (Jorge Perugorria), an effeminate gay who revels in his gayness. Diego is instantly attracted to the handsome David when they share a table at an outdoor cafe, and he manages to persuade David to cime to his apartment on a pretext. The homophobic David is most uneasy during this first encounter, especially when Diego pratties on about the ills of Cuban society. He decides it’s his duty to expose this most unrevolutionary Cuban, especially when Diego mentions he’s working on an art exhibition with the help of a foreign embassy. So he visits the apartment again, and again – and the inevitable happens. He finds his outlook on life being changed by the warm, crazy Diego, and the two become friends. Veteran director Tomas Gutierrez Alea (Memories of Underdevelopment) and his partner Juan Carlos Tabio have come up with a winner here, with much credit going to the two lead actors. Strawberry and Choclate looms as the international breakthrough film for Cuban cinema, thanks to its great good humour and cheerful debunking of many of the sacred tenets of communism.

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