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A picaresque journey through the series of coups, revolutions and wars that
colored the latter half of the 20th century, Chico (2001) presents a
personal, tragicomic perspective on a period of history when, at least for one
man, everything fell apart. Hungarian director Ibolya Fekete weaves documentary
footage together with historical re-creations to tell the semibiographical story
of Eduardo Rózsa Flores, who also plays the film’s eponymous lead. Born in Bolivia
to a Jewish-Hungarian father and a Catholic-Spanish mother, the young Chico
grows up enamored of his charismatic father’s communist activism, while serving
Mass every morning with the local priest. He then bears the burden of these
hyphenated allegiances from country to country and cause to cause as his family
is buffeted by a disruptive course of historical events. Following the 1971
coup in Bolivia, it’s on to Chile in time for Allende’s fall, after which the
family flees to Hungary. “A homecoming for my father, a new exile for me,” says
Chico in voice-over after his father leads a plane of refugees in a rendition
of “The Internationale.” Then, under the thrall of Che, Chico seizes the reins
of his own destiny and travels to Minsk for KGB training, where he sees how
the spirit of his father’s revolution has ossified into empty rhetoric. After
disheartening stints as a spy, a terrorist (with Carlos “The Jackal”) and a
journalist, he becomes a freedom fighter in Croatia, as much out of personal
pique as political commitment, only to watch as the Balkans go up in flames.
It’s a crowded resumé, which director Fekete presents in a disordered series
of extended flashbacks — a jumbled chronology that mirrors Chico’s growing drift
and disillusion as the grand storylines of the Cold War come undone.

Other recommended new releases: The Errol Morris Collection: Gates of Heaven,
The Thin Blue Line, Vernon, Florida
(DVD); Guadalcanal Diary (DVD);
Gabbeh (DVD); How Tasty Was My Frenchman (DVD); Hukkle
(DVD).

VHS/DVD: King’s Ransom; Raging Sharks; Upside of Anger; XXX: State Of The
Union. DVD: 13 Rue Madeleine; America’s Funniest Home Videos Vol. 1; …And
Give My Love To the Swallows; Almost Human; Between Heaven and Hell; Bolero;
The Blue Max; The Brady Bunch: The Complete Second Season; Brothers In Arms;
Chain Camera; Coronation; Crash Dive; D-Day, The Sixth of June; The Desert Rats;
The Hunters; Distant Journey; Errol Morris’ First Person: The Complete Series;
Fruit of Paradise; Gambling City; Gate of Flesh; Gilligan’s Island: The Complete
Third Season; Heaven Knows Mr. Allison; King’s Ransom; Lady Chatterley’s Lover;
Letters in the Wind; Manson Family Movies; The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Season
Two; Mata Hari; Miss Cast Away; Mojados; Naughty Britain Collection: Au Pair
Girls, Can You Keep it up for a Week?, Sex & The Other Woman; No Witness; Pink
Panther Classic Cartoon Collection Volume 1-3; Prom Night in Kansas City; Rainbow;
Remington Steele: Season One; Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars: Volume 3:
Deadly Limitations; Star Trek Enterprise: The Complete Second Season; Steamboy:
Director’s Cut; Story of a Prostitute; The Red Skelton Collection; To the Shores
of Tripoli; Twelve O’Clock High; The Twilight; Unreal; Urban Latino TV: The
Culture; Warm Summer Rain; What Price Glory; The Whole Shebang; Wild Orchid
2: Blue Movie Blue; Wilder Days; Wiseguys On Texas Hold’em; A Yank in the RAF;
Young Lions.

LA Weekly