Coco: a film that teaches tradition

If music be the food of love, Coco is a delightful three course dinner. In Pixar’s newest film Coco you are invited to the Land of the Dead where 12 year old Miguel Gonzales is transported after he steals the guitar of the late, great Ernesto De La Cruz, when he tries to convince his family that he is a musician in a household that has deaf ears to music.

The beautiful insight into the afterlife that this film offers is made hybrid by the substitution of pearly gates for the Disney World-esque turntables to enter and face recognition that brings tradition into the twentieth century. The imaginative capacity of these locations was made richer by the cultural consciousness of the representation of Dia De Los Muertos. The grandiose marigold flower bridge that leads to the Land of the Dead is taken directly from the trails of flowers that family lead to their houses so that their ancestors can make the return trip home.

This is not a stale representation of age old traditions but a dynamic imaginative venture. The animated manifestation of the fantastical Mexican folk art sculptures, Alebrijes, add character and majesty to this afterlife. Miguel’s ancestor’s own Pepita is a chimera animal that’s part jaguar, part eagle and part lizard. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a flying creature to take them on all of their adventures?

Yet, what really struck about Pixar’s latest venture is how much I learnt and how much more I understand. This is a world that you are immersed in for an hour and a half and one that you don’t want to leave. Coco is simultaneously rich in family tradition and a reimagined roller-coaster ride of beauty.

George Hulkes

(Image courtesy of Vanity Fair)