16 January 2004 | xianjiro
What a Wonderful Surprise!
Strawberry and Chocolate -- Wow this was a wonderful surprise and one of the better movies I've seen of late. Set in 90's Havana, this is a very real, believable story of a young homophobes first friendship with a gay man. I found the movie touching and funny and it reminded so much of many men I knew during my years in El Paso.
Diego, played wonderfully by Cuban actor Jorge Perugorria, is very attractive and yet easily the queeniest guy I've seen on film in years. I really enjoyed how comfortable he seemed in the role paying in between the male and female gender roles. This man has a passion for life that he expresses while being outside the mainstream. He does an excellent job of pulling off the crush in a believable way.
He has a horrible crush on David, a young Communist party member who is lured to Diego's apartment with the promise of some photos of Diego took of him while David was acting. No pictures materialized and the two develop a solid, respectful, platonic relationship.
This movie shows that gay and straight men can be friends. It also reminded me of many good times I had by making friends with people I normally wouldn't associate with. Queens are usually not my type...but then again, its a reminder to judge people by the content of their character rather than superficial appearances.
The film also explores Cuban's acceptance of Communism and the country's desire to remain outside the influence of American commercialism. I was very interested to see where Diego's anti-government rhetoric would get him and if the movie would have a moralistic 'gotcha' message at the end.
In reading about this movie it's pleasing to know that the director is a well-known and respected Cuban director (thus making it a bit easier to trust the movie) and the movie was well received in Cuba. Word is it helped to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality in Cuba.
I heartily recommend this film in a way I so rarely do. Easily in the same class as Priscilla for humanity and believability. This one is absolutely worth whatever it takes to find it.
Rating: 9 out of 10.