The best cinematographic experiences are those that take the viewer by surprise, send him back to his own experience and upset him. Coco is this kind of feature film. As one of Pixar Animation Studios’ best films, it has much in common with Ratatouille. Like Ratatouille, in fact, it depicts a culture, here Mexican, with respect and accuracy while proposing endearing characters, living an extraordinary human adventure and evolving to the rhythm of haunting music. But that is not where Coco’s big success lays: It is actually revealing itself in its ability to raise emotion to a point rarely reached in the films of Luxo Jr.’s studios, though masters in the art of generating frissons in their audience. The finale, a veritable display of tenderness, makes everyone want to embrace their family and fondly remember their missing loved ones.
This is not the first time that Latin America, and in particular Mexico, has inspired animated films. The most emblematic are of course the two opuses of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, Saludos Amigos (1943) and The Three Caballeros (1945) with, in particular, the character of the Mexican rooster Panchito. Both films are inspired by a trip to Latin America by Walt Disney himself, his wife and sixteen of his collaborators in 1941; a journey traced in the 2009 documentary, Walt & El Grupo. During this trip, Mickey’s creator had, in fact, served as ambassador of the United States during this period of war while trying to absorb, for his art of storytelling, of the colors and local mores. Other works followed, thanks to this expedition including the short films Pluto and Armadillo (1943), The Pelican and the Woodcock (1944) or The Egg of the Giant Condor (1944).
Pixar Studios, meanwhile, have also been interested in South America, focusing the main action sequences of the film ‘Up’ in a tropical forest of the continent.