DISTANT DREAMS AND PASSIONATE LOVERS.
David (Vladimir Cruz), a young Cuban who remains loyal to the revolution, meets a gay artist (Jorge Perugorria); what begins as an attempt on David’s part to gather evidence against Diego turns into a deepening friendship. The first Cuban film to receive an Academy Award nomination was controversial in its native country because of the criticism against Castro’s dictatorship and the theme of homosexuality. Two philosophies of life clash and sometimes sparks fly. Not a terribly deep film, but its conversations are rewarding and the filmmakers contrast the benefits of an open mind with the realities of a closed society. Good performance by Perugorria.
1994-Cuba. 110 min. Color. Produced by Miguel Mendoza. Directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea, Juan Carlos Tabio. Screenplay: Senel Paz. Cast: Jorge Perugorria (Diego), Vladimir Cruz (David), Mirta Ibarra (Nancy), Francisco Gattorono, Marilyn Solaya.
Trivia: Original title: Fresa y chocolate.
Berlin: Silver Bear.
Last word: “There is a joke in ‘Strawberry and Chocolate’ which highlights another aspect of the situation. When Nancy says, ‘The outlook’s bad, it’s going to rain,’ she gets the response: ‘Well, the outlook may be bad, but healthcare and education are free.’ Constant praise of the positive, of our secure future in this, the best of all possible worlds, lulls people to sleep, immobilises them. I think that to ignore the negative aspects of society is both Latin American and typical of so-called socialism… I think a society has to begin by knowing itself in as lucid and unblinkered a way as possible. The revolution and socialism have felt a desperate need to enhance their positive image, with the result that ranks close, a monolithic bloc forms and everything is fine and dandy. I’ve often met people who think that a revolutionary who loves Cuba should not write this kind of film.” (Paz, Sight and Sound)