The worst moment was the passport control for souls.
A treacherous and traumatic film.
Exploits abandonment issues to submit to gaslighting circumstances on earth.
Tells you that the dead are more important than the environment or even principals.
Basically, you are dead if you try to play your proverbial guitar-
No matter if it belonged to someone else and you only drive creation forward.
The act of belonging to a profession is forbidden on a core personal level of individuality which in turn conflicts with fraternal instincts.
What follows are excerpts from a LetterBoxd review made by a heartful, christianic Mexican person to express his attitude that he shares with his compatriots.
It is presented as a letter to Pixar Studios.
This, to me, was very revealing on the Mexican culture, that I missed in the only movie I ever watched dealing with it.
By Edgar Cochran;
“Jesus said unto him: Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:60
…one of the most accurate depictions I have seen about pervasively detailed layers of the Mexican culture since EISENSTEIN and BUNUEL despite the current elitist and discriminatory Trump political and economic agenda.
Nevertheless, this also represents one of the most dangerous blows you have given to my compatriots from all ages and genders alike who, after watching this during the Día de los Muertos festivities, have come out from the theaters deeply moved, thankful, even flattered with tears in their eyes.
First of all, thank you. Thanks for visiting our country despite the current tumultuous times, for getting into the streets of big cities and little rural towns, from Guanajuato and Michoacán to Oaxaca and Mexico City, states that suffered great structural damages and human losses from a recent historical earthquake that caught the attention of the world…
Thanks for also somewhat faithfully representing the matriarchal family organization that has run among the generations for so long, especially since the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when gender inequalities started to accentuate and an alarming percentage of men, the supposed-to-be head-of-the-family members, abandoned their families. The amazingly strong women raised families by their own, with no other help beyond their relatives and closest friends in the fortunate case they had any.
Finally, you correctly grasped how families, very similarly to Latin America and Italy, form multigenerational conglomerates. The children live with their parents, who live with their respective parents, who live with their respective parents. You have the great-grandmother abandoned by the great-grandfather living with the grandparents living with the parents living with the children, and all these big families know each other.
And so, finally, we come to the predominant matter at hand: the absolutely colorful representation you have given to Mexico, a very colorful country indeed, from its architecture to its street decorations and its offerings to the deceased family members from many generations ago. The music, the mariachis, the fireworks, the papel picado (the paper used to call for the spirits of the deceased), the way people play their guitars, the costume designs, the celebrations, the cemeteries, and the emblematic location of Santa Cecilia in Mexico City, a place all family generations have got to know at least once… everything is here. We also have the honest depiction of how there is a strong conviction in Mexican blood that the youngest family members must continue the same profession/dedication their fathers and grandfathers did, and this must be done in perpetual motion, despite generational changes in society. Many of us, including myself, have suffered this pressure from our elders, even if our inclinations and personal gifts differ from our own older blood. We have the flowers of cempasúchitl serving its superstation purpose of guiding the spirits of the deceased back to their graves, where the families have gathered to remember them, to offer them food and to spend time with them.
I have to be honest: my heart jumped out of grateful emotion when I saw the little details that for foreigners might pass unperceived, but that mean the world to us Mexicans:
– A “Pizza Planeta” truck passes in front of our faces playing a mariachi song during the very first minutes of the opening scenes. A FREAKING MARIACHI SONG!
– This surprise was continued when I saw an accurately replicated Santa Cecilia and other rural towns with similar architecture displaying Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. piñatas in a shop. This is not at all away from the truth.
– A traditional dog, very well known here for its endemism and its strong relation with the Aztec (aka Mexica culture), happens to be the animal companion of the protagonist.
– Tied to the previous point, the “alebrijes”, brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures first originated with Mexican artisan Pedro Linares, play an important part in the cultural development of the plot as the guides of the deceased in the Land of the Dead.
– The Mexican Golden Age of cinema was portrayed, although briefly, with a very humorous touch, and I cannot neglect any representation made towards it.
– My jaw dropped when I first saw the Land of the Dead not only because of its astonishing design, but also because of my simultaneous conscious realization that it was entirely based on the looks of Guanajuato, one of my favorite places to visit throughout Mexico repeatedly, not to diminish the astonishing cultural variety present throughout this magnificent country. To top it all, the entrance to the Land of the Dead features the magnificent Pyramids of Teotihuacán, and the waiting room is a replica of the Postal Palace of Mexico City.
Literally, Mexican legends of international recognition stature, such as:
1) Frida Kahlo, the divisive, emblematic and always suffering artist of tremendous emotional depth
2) Diego Rivera, the communist muralist of always socially-inclined artworks, husband of Frida Kahlo
3) Pedro Infante, one of the two people to inspire the character of Ernesto de la Cruz, legendary icon of Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema and of ranchera music, with more than 60 films and 300 songs to his favor that anybody in this country could recognize easily
4) Jorge Negrete, one of the two people to inspire the character of Ernesto de la Cruz, the competitive counterpart of Jorge Negrete: outstanding singer and talented actor, but not as transcendent as the great Infante
5) Mario Moreno aka Cantinflas, the “Mexican Charles Chaplin” (and in many aspects even better than him), unrepeated and unmatched actor, comedian, director, writer and idealist, considered the greatest comedian of all Spanish-speaking countries of all times
6) Agustín Lara, distinguished composer and singer of boleros
7) Dolores del Río, arguably the greatest Mexican film actress of all times, essential to the exploration of Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema, and the first one to get Hollywood appraisal
8) María Félix, the “maximum diva of Mexican cinema” and equally emblematic as Dolores del Río at a Latin American scale
9) El Santo, iconic professional wrestler and Mexican actor, protagonist of endless absurd sci-fi and espionage fighting films, who grew up to an extent of becoming a world symbol
10) Emiliano Zapata, symbol of the rural Mexican resistance during the Mexican Revolution, a key leader during said conflict and in charge of the Liberation Army of the South, force commonly known as the “zapatistas” from 1910 to 1920.
Finally, you had the bravery of creating an original soundtrack recorded by approximately 50 musicians in Mexico City that sounds Mexican above all things, but I must admit that the mariachi musical quality is brutally misrepresented here compared to its real-life, world-widely recognized force, impact, passion and quality.