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Strawberry and chocolate


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STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE

(1994)
Directors: Tomas Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío

Screenplay: Senel Paz (based on his short story, “The Wolf, the Forest, and the New Man”)

Cinematography: Mario Garcia Joya

Produced by Miguel Mendoza

Cuban Institute of the Arts and Film Industry

Coproducers: IMCINE and TABASCO FILMS (Mexico)

Telemadrid and SGAE (Spain)


Jorge Perugorría (Diego)

Vladimir Cruz (David)

Mirta Ibarra (Nancy)

Francisco Gatorno (Miguel)

Marilyn Solaya (Vivian)
Havana, 1979

David takes Vivian to a hotel to make love with her.

The light switch doesn’t work.

The place is shabby.

While Vivian is in the bathroom, David hears noises from the adjoining room.

There is a hole stuffed with a wad of paper in the door to the next room.

David takes a look through the hole.
Vivian acts coy.

She scolds David for bringing her to such a shabby hotel, saying that he only wants sex.

David promises they won’t have sex until they are married.

Vivian is surprised – and disappointed.


Vivian gets married to someone else, someone who can provide an economically secure life.

David has a drink.

Someone sings and plays guitar badly.
David goes to the Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor.

Diego and Germán admire him.

Diego invites himself to sit at David’s table.

David tries to leave, but Germán is sitting at the only other available table.

Diego is carrying a book by Mario Vargas Llosa, Conversations in the Cathedral.
David entices David to accompany him to his apartment to see some photos of David in a production of Ibsen’s A Doll House.
They share a taxi.
They nearly run into Nancy, but Diego manages to avoid it.

Diego says she is a vigilancia.


Diego’s room contains a wall of honor concerning Cuban culture.

There is a religious shrine in Deigo’s kitchen.

Diego talks to the refrigerator, named Rocco.
Diego plays a record of María Callas.

“Why can’t this island produce a voice like that? We need another voice so badly!”


David looks around the apartment. He takes a closer look at Germán’s scultures.
Nancy pops in the door while Diego is in the kitchen. She takes a long, admiring look at David. She exits before Diego returns from the kitchen.
Diego proposes that he and David drink tea.

David says he doesn’t drink tea except when he’s sick.

But Diego prevails.

The tea set is quite fancy, an antique.


Diego purposely spills tea on David’s shirt.

He washes it out and hangs it on the balcony railing.


Diego gives a lecture on famous gay writers and warriors.

He quotes Raskalnikov: 60% of men have homosecual relationships with no change in personality.

Diego: “The best is not to be shocked by anything.”
Diego begins to talk about “how I became a fag.”
Diego loans David Conversations in the Cathedral.

But David leaves in a hurry, forgetting the book.


Diego talks to a santería statue of St. Barbara.
Note the old cars on the streets.
David talks to Miguel about his experience with Diego.

He mentions that Diego has books “you can’t get anywhere.”


David meets Vivian on the street.

He has been waiting for her, following her.

She tells him that her husband has been posted abroad.

She proposes that they be lovers.

David turns her down.

David and Miguel talk again.

Miguel says that David should keep an eye on the “fag.”

Miguel says it’s David’s duty.


David returns to Diego’s flat with the excuse of having left without the book.

David sees a book by John Dunne and makes a fool of himself, asking if Dunne is Diego’s friend.


They toast friendship with the “enemy’s drink”: Johnny Walker Red.

David snoops through Diego’s magazines.

He finds copies of U.S. magazines, such as Time and Newsweek.
They talk about Lezama Lima, “the greatest Cuban writer of the century.”

[Lezama’s novel Paradise had at one time been censored because of a chapter devoted to gay culture. Lezama has now been fully restored to acceptability.]


Diego says there are other things about him that are “different.”

For one thing, he’s “religious.”

David replies that he is a historical materialist, so why talk about it?

Diego admits to being in trouble at work. He is watched by the neighbors.

He doesn’t do volunteer work.

David says the people can do whatever they want.

Diego responds, “The Revolution needs more militants like you.”
David gets drunk on whiskey. Miguel tries to help sober him up.

Miguel says this is not a matter for cops: “The problem is political and moral.”


Nancy tries to commit suicide.

It is apparently not the first time (we find out later).

David arrives as Nancy is being put in an ambulance.

Diego says he is her husband and David is her brother, and they jump into the ambulance.

Diego gives as much blood as he can. Then David gives blood.
David and Diego return to Diego’s apartment.

Diego asks David why he doesn’t study literature instead of political science.

David says it is because the Revolution gave him the opportunity to study in the first place, and he feels obligated to study something “useful.”
Nancy returns from the hospital. She visits Diego in his room.

Diego is starting a letter to the gallery director, with copies to other officials.

Nancy says Germán’s sculptures are weird; they “transmit bad feelings.”

Diego: Art doesn’t “transmit.” That’s what government radio does.


Germán says the director of the gallery wants to take some pieces out of the exhibition.

He’s been promised a trip to Mexico.

Diego is furious.
Nancy makes a sale on the black market.

She talks to St. Barbara about it.

She says she’s not hurting anyone.

David and Nancy talk about Diego.

David still thinks Nancy is vigilancia.

The real vigilancia skitters down the hall.

Diego interrupts David and Nancy just when Nancy is saying something nice about him.
Diego plays piano sonatas by Cervantes” “Adiós á Cuba” and “Los Illusions.”
David asks about Diego’s background.

He is sure it must have been traumatic.

It wasn’t.

They talk about the trouble with the system.

David says Diego is not a revolutionary.

“Who says I’m not?”

Diego explains about wanting to help the revolution and being turned away because he was gay.

Diego: “I’m part of this country, like it or not. I’m not leaving this country even if they burn my fucking ass!... Without me, you’re missing a piece.”


Germán destroys one of his sculptures, the statue of Marx.

He and Diego have a row.


The sculptures are never fully revealed. One statue is of Jesus stuck with sickles. Another is of Marx wearing a crown of thorns.
Diego becomes David’s writing tutor.

Diego: “When will they understand that art is one thing and propaganda is another?”


Diego mails the letter to the gallery director and copies to other officials.
Diego critiques David’s writing.

He is severe. He tears it apart, but ends by saying that David has talent.


Diego and David look out over Havana from a balcony.

Diego says it is falling down because the bureaucrats don’t care.

Diego teaches David about architecture.

David walks around the city. Parts of it look as though they had been bombed.


David adds a picture of Che Guevara and a “26” flag to Diego’s Cuban wall of honor.

They talk about the revolution, censorship, tolerance of gays and others, etc.

Diego doubts that communism can create a society in which gays will be happy and David will feel free to say hello to him in public.


In the dorm, a newsreel of Somoza fleeing Nicaragua….
David defends Diego against criticism by Miguel.

David bids farewell to Vivian.

Then he visits Diego, where he drinks himself into a stupor.
Diego tells Nancy he’s been fired and can’t work in another cultural agency.

But he has arranged an interview with an embassy.

They plan a “lunch á la Lezama.”

Diego asks Nancy to seduce David.

She becomes indignant.
Nancy threatens suicide by hanging.

She talks to a santería icon and decides to seduce David for her own purposes.

There is a poster of the Beatles in the background.
Diego gazes at David as he lies in a drunken stupor.
Nancy prays while she showers.

She prays that she will be able to seduce David.

She prays to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Diego’s apartment.

She tells the BVM not to mention it to “your pal in my apartment.”


Nancy and David walk along the harbor and through Havana’s parks.

Nancy reads David’s palm.

They take a ferry through the harbor.
Nancy prays to St. Barbara.
Diego prepares a meal based on a feast in Lezama’s Paradise.

The three of them make a toast to friendship and love.


Nancy begins seducing David as Diego goes out.

She asks Diego if he has his passport – which she hurriedly changes to “I.D. card.”


David walks happily through the campus.
Nancy visits a santería priest and reads tarot cards.
Miguel visits Diego.

David visits Nancy. He brings flowers.

David walks in as Miguel and Diego come to blows.
David sees Diego get out of an embassy limo (Cadillac).

Diego admits he is leaving the country.

He says he has been kicked out.

That is not technically true. It is just that his employment options have been cut to manual labor.

David and Diego say goodbye.

Diego has become known to his friends as “the red queer.”


They have ice cream at Coppelia. David mimics Diego’s behavior on the day they met.

Diego: “You’re so beautiful. The only problem is, you’re not gay.”



David: “Nobody’s perfect.”
In Diego’s apartment, Diego explains about the shirt in the window.
They hug.



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