Miramax gobbles up another ‘Chocolate’

Miramax Films has bought domestic rights to “Strawberry and Chocolate” (Fresa y Chocolate), the Cuban comedy that scored big last month at the Berlin Film Festival, capturing three awards.

Company execs, who plan a traditional arthouse release in late summer or early fall, clearly think the picture has the potential to break out beyond that limited audience.

Miramax managed that feat recently with its Spanish-lingo release “Like Water for Chocolate,” which has grossed about $ 19.8 million.

“Strawberry and Chocolate,” with striking images of the modern yet run-down Havana, details an unlikely friendship between a straight, conformist university student and a flamboyantly anti-establishment gay.

The pic received strong critical notices in Berlin and a wildly enthusiastic reception from fest audiences. Several U.S. distribs expressed interest in the film at that time. Miramax closed the deal at the recent Guadalajara Film Festival.

Directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea (“Memories of Underdevelopment”) and Juan Carlos Tabio, “Strawberry” is a co-production of the Cuban film institute Icaic, Imcine-Tabasco Films of Mexico and Telemadrid of Spain, and is being acquired through a European company.

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