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Strawberry & Chocolate Review

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Diego, a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas

★★★★★

For Diego (Perugorria), promising not to make any further attempt to sleep with girlfriend Vivian (Marilyn Solaya) prior to their wedding day turns out to be a bad move when she leaves him and ends up marrying someone else. In a state of despair, he is approached by David (Cruz), a gay man whose German friend (Jorge Angelino) bets him he can’t pick up Diego. Unable to resist the challenge, David ambles over to the restaurant table at which Diego has seated himself, orders strawberry ice cream from a menu offering that or the more masculine alternative chocolate and suggests Diego come back to his flat “to look at some original Vargas Llosa additions”.

Lured by the promise of the books, the innocent accepts, and through a series of meetings in David’s flat at which they discuss revolutionary art and politics over coffee they eventually become close friends. But since Cuban communist othordoxy considers being gay to be anti-revolutionary, when Diego tells his student roommate Miguel about David, it leads to political difficulties for his newfound friend. Meanwhile, when David’s aging woman neighbour Nancy (Ibarra) learns Diego is a virgin she becomes determined to sleep with him herself.

This first gay filmic offering from Cuba actually plays a good deal better than it sounds, not least because its characters are delineated not merely as cyphers for the purposes of political scoring but as real human beings with complex motivations and emotions. That said, it still suffers from spending far too much time in David’s admittedly fascinating apartment.

Many will love it, many won't.

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