Earlier this month, Hypable visited Pixar Studios to get an early look at Coco. Read on to find out what we learned about Disney-Pixar’s latest film, which celebrates Mexican culture and the importance of strong family bonds!
When Disney-Pixar’s Coco premieres in theaters, fans will be introduced to Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), a kid who longs to become a musician just like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). There’s just one tiny thing standing in the way of Miguel’s dreams: his family.
While Miguel’s passion for music is palpable, he must keep his aspirations a secret from his loving family, who unlike the rest of his hometown of Santa Cecilia, detests music. In fact, his entire family has had a no tolerance stance on music ever since Miguel’s great-great grandmother, Mama Imelda, put a ban on music long before Miguel was even born.
Earlier this month, Hypable was lucky enough to visit Pixar Studios where we were treated to the first 35 minutes of the film.
Don’t worry — we won’t spoil any of the bigger plot points! But for those of you looking forward to checking out the film when it hits theaters later this year, what you should know is that Coco is both wonderfully heartwarming and visually stunning.
More importantly, Coco serves as a love letter to the Mexican culture, and beautifully portrays the special bond that transcends across generations within Latino families.
Miguel might be at the center of what transpires in Coco, but the true beauty of the film lies in the way Miguel is bonded with his family, both past and present.
“We really wanted to explore the family bonds that tie us to the generations that came before us,” said director Lee Unkrich. “This story is about celebrating our past — even as we look to the future.”
Coco takes place on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an annual holiday where families come together to reflect on loved ones who have long since passed on. The holiday has deep seeded roots in Mexico, where families come together on the days leading up to Dia de los Muertos to create mini altars (ofrendas) that celebrate the dead and the things they loved most.
Together, loved ones teach the younger generations about the ancestors they didn’t get a chance to meet, and share fond memories about loved ones that have passed on.
During the making of Coco, the filmmakers took several research trips to Mexico where they found themselves incredibly touched by the strong family ties they saw in all the Mexican homes they visited while in the country.
“We spent time with many lovely families in Tlacolula, Tialixtac, El Tule, San Marcos, Tlapazola, and Abasolo,” said Unkrich during a press conference at Pixar. “They welcomed us into their homes and taught us about the foods they enjoy, the music they listen to, their livelihoods, and their traditions. Most importantly, we witnessed the importance they place on family.”
Specifically, they were struck by the fact that many of the homes they visited consisted of multiple generations of families living under one roof.
“Babies were at home alongside their great-grandmothers. We wanted to embrace that,” continued the director. “Even as her own memory is slipping away, Mama Coco [voiced by iconic Mexican actress Ana Ofelia Murguia] will always be surrounded by people who love her.”
Latino moviegoers — especially those with family ties in Mexico — will undoubtedly feel a kinship to the Rivera family. From Miguel’s supportive mother and father, to his chancla-weilding Abuelita, to the soft-spoken Mama Coco, there’s no denying viewers will see much of their own relatives within the ones we’re introduced to that make up Miguel’s family.
Though the film may touch close to home for those with deep Latin roots, the idea of family is one that is universally relatable. Because of that, co-director Adrian Molina says he’s convinced that the story of Coco is one that filmgoers all over the world will connect with regardless of what cultures or ethnicities they come from.
“Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and the story of this film, and the story about knowing where you come from, and having that connection to the people who’ve passed before you is something that affects everyone on a deep, visceral human level,” said Molina.
Be sure to keep an eye on Hypable in the coming months as we share more about what we learned from our visit to Pixar to get an early glimpse of Coco!
Disney-Pixar’s Coco opens in theaters on November 22, 2017.