Coco Reminds Us That Family Is Forever
We had the pleasure of attending a Press Screening of the new Disney/PIXAR film, Coco.
Coco is the story of a 12 year old boy who wishes to become an accomplished musician. Although he can play the guitar and sing beautifully, he has one obstacle against him…. His family has a multi-generational ban against music.
In his attempt to perform at the local Dia de Muertos (AKA “Dia de los Muertos“, or “Day of the Dead“) celebration, his impulsive actions land him in the Land of the Dead.
Upon realization that he’s left the Land of the Living, the boy finds that he must receive the blessing of a family member to return home. If he doesn’t get his blessing within 24 hours, he’ll become a skeleton and be left in the Land of the Dead.
During his journey to get the blessing he needs, he unlocks surprising details about his family history. These details are an integral part of him being able to continue to pursue his dream.
Set in Mexico, this animated movie is both audibly and visually pleasurable. The details are phenomenal. The music is beautiful. The film is colorful, vibrant, fun, and heartwarming. It has surprising moments that we didn’t see coming.
Although it’s full of skeletons, it isn’t frightening in the least. It offered insight into Dia de Muertos, and the importance of the celebration in Mexican culture.
It reminded us that family is forever. It made us realize how important it is to keep the spirit of the deceased alive. We loved Coco.
Terms/Phrases and Cultural Explanations:
Living in Southern California, the majority of people here are familiar with Mexican culture. Here are some things that might help you understand the film, including terms/phrases and cultural explanations.
Dia de Muertos: As mentioned previously, Dia de Muertos, also often referred to as Dia de los Muertos, is Day of the Dead. Although it’s called “Day” of the Dead, it’s actually a multi-day celebration to commemorate friends and family that have passed.
Marigolds: Marigolds, both the full flower as well as the petals, are used to help guide the deceased home for Dia de Muertos. You will see these flowers used throughout the film.
Ofrenda: The Spanish word “ofrendas” means “offerings”. Ofrendas are altars, often decorated with pictures, candles, food, and other items offered to the deceased. The image below shows ofrendas with lots of marigolds ordaining the room.
Papel Picado: Papel picado is perforated paper craft often hung around ofrendas. Papel picado is also used as a decoration for other occasions and celebrations. The image below shows papel picado strung in the background.
Tamales: Tamales are a traditional Mexican food made of corn, and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, etc… They’re generally wrapped in a steamed corn husk.
Guapo: Guapo means “handsome”.
Mijo: Mijo is slang for son, in Spanish. It’s a combination of the Spanish words “Mi”, meaning “My” and “Hijo”, meaning “Son”. It’s used in an affectionate manner by a person older than the male, when speaking to him. A grandparent might tell their grandson, “Mijo, you are so guapo!”.
Alebrijes: Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art of mythical creatures. These mythical creatures come to life, as spirit guides in Coco. The skeleton in the image below is holding one such spirit guide. There’s a second one next to him as well.
Xolo: The Xolo is the national dog of Mexico. Below is an image of the Xolo in Coco.
Calaveras: Calaveras, or human skulls, are often made of sugar or clay for Dia de Muertos celebrations.
We have some free Coco Printables, including coloring pages, a maze, and more available for download, HERE. Many thanks to Disney for sharing these with us, to pass along to you!
If you haven’t seen them yet, there are a bunch of video clips of Coco up on YouTube. Here’s one, to give you an idea about this spectacular film:
Coco, which is showing in 3D, is now open in theaters. Check your local listings for showtimes. We plan to see it again this holiday season. Perhaps we’ll see you there!
P.S. For more about Coco, be sure to check out the official website, HERE.