Morelia, Mexico - Bring the tissues, because Disney/Pixar's latest animated feature, Coco is a real tearjerker. Set in Mexico against the culture and folklore of Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) - a national holiday that honors departed loved ones - the emotional movie centers on universal themes.
"The film is very much about family, specifically the importance of remembering family and passing along stories to future generations so that people aren't forgotten and lost to time," director Lee Unkrich told Vanity Fair at the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico on Friday evening, where the picture opened the event with its world premiere. "And that's the core idea of what Día de Los Muertos is all about."
Coco is about 12-year-old Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who dreams of becoming a musician like his deceased idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) - despite his family vehemently forbidding any form of music at home, ever since his great-great-grandfather was said to have deserted the family to pursue a singing career. After his grandmother catches him playing the guitar, Miguel runs away from home. When he mysteriously ends up in the Land of the Dead, he discovers the secrets behind his family's heritage and his great-grandmother Coco's mysterious past.
At the start of movie's production six years ago, the filmmakers made a trip to Morelia to conduct research on Mexican culture and tradition. Located northeast from Mexico City, Morelia is a charming, historic city known for its Day of the Dead festivities, stunning religious buildings, baroque architecture, hospitable residents, and a world-renowned music conservatory. It's fitting for Coco to screen for the first time at the Morelia Film Fest, now in its 15th year, especially just a few weeks before the Mexican holiday.
Gael García Bernal, who voices the skeletal Hector - who helps Miguel navigate through the Land of the Dead - is proud to make a film that represents his Mexican background. "I'm excited to show this very special film and to tell the world about the Mexican culture and our traditions," García Bernal told V.F. on the red carpet. "It's incredible and an important moment. There's a lot of emotion, and it's beautiful that the film truthfully tells the story of life and death and the identities of being a Mexican in a positive and human way."
Coco opens in the U.S. on November 22.Read the full article at VanityFair.com.