Estrella Morente becomes a ‘toon’
in Fernando Trueba’s film ‘Chico y Rita’

The flamenco cantaora performs the bolero ‘Lily’ together with pianist Bebo Valdés

S.C./, February 2011

Estrella Morente is a cartoon character. The flamenco cantaora plays herself in ‘Chico & Rita’, an animated film by director Fernando Trueba and designer Javier Mariscal. In the movie, which tells of a love story between latin jazz musicians, the Granada-born artist performs the bolero ‘Lily’, the film’s main song, with the legendary Bebo Valdés on piano.

Fernando Trueba and Estrella Morente (Photo Yago Mariño)

‘Chico & Rita’ is a love story between latin jazz musicians, a pianist and a singer, set in the middle of the 20th century between Havana and New York. At the end of the film, which is the fruit of the collaboration between filmmaker Fernando Trueba and designer Javier Mariscal, Chico’s career gets a new boost when cantaora Estrella Morente arrives in Havana in search of a genuine talent for a musical collaboration.

Trueba managed to convince her to take part in the movie: “I’ve always loved Estrella since she was really young. When we started writing this scene, I thought of her because she has a special quality. She has one foot in the 19th century and the other in the 21st century; she doesn’t belong to the 20th century. She’s so deep and ancient and, at the same time, so modern. It was a luxury to have her in the film”. And she sings with a real piano legend: “The experience of bringing together Bebo Valdés and Estrella Morente is a gift and something quite unusual and nice”, the director remarks.

Estrella and Chico's success on 'Chico & Rita'

Estrella and Bebo – who together with Diego el Cigala created one of the most international flamenco albums, ‘Lágrimas negras’, produced by Trueba – are part of a complete lineup of musicians including Idania Valdés, Freddy Cole, Jimmy Heath, Pedrito Martínez, Michael Phillip Mossman, Amadito Valdés and Germán Velazco, playing jazz stars of the era recreated in the film such as Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Ben Webster, Nat King Cole, Tito Puente and Dizzie Gillespie.

It isn’t the first time that Estrella Morente has worked in a movie. So far, she has intervened in films like ‘Buñuel y la mesa del Rey Salomón’, ‘Iberia’ and ‘Flamenco, flamenco’ by Carlos Saura, and in ‘Volver’ by Pedro Almodóvar’. Moreover, in 2007 she released an audiovisual of her own, the musical documentary ‘Casacueva y escenario’.

Frames from 'Chico & Rita'

Over the world

The film is traveling all over the world. In March, ‘Chico & Rita’ will be presented at the Cartoon Movie Festival in Lyon (France) and at the 28th Miami International Film Festival. It has already won the Prize for Best Film at the Holland Animation Film Festival (HAFF 2010), the 2010 European Cinema Prize at the Les Arcs European Film Festival and the 2011 Goya for Best Animated Film, besides being the film to open the Telluride Film Festival (Colorado).

'Chico & Rita' team (Photo David Airob)

Further information

Interview with Fernando Trueba, film director and music promoter (October 2003)

Interview with Bebo Valdés, pianist (July 2003)

Interview with Estrella Morente, flamenco singer (October 2005)

Estrella Morente, 'Antología de Estrella Morente
(3 CDs + DVD)'

More information, video, orders
DVD. Estrella Morente, 'Casacueva y Escenario (DVD PAL)'

More information, video, orders
CD. Bebo & Cigala, 'Lágrimas negras'

More information, orders

Estrella Morente
Biography, discography, audio and readers' comments




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