'Coco' and 'The Shape of Water' Showcase Latino Filmmaking Magic

Posted by on November 30, 2017

This Holiday season brings two great films based in magic and fantasy to the big screen.

Disney Pixar's newest release is "Coco", co-directed by first time director Adrian Molina. The film is based in Mexico and tells the story of a young boy named Miguel, who wants to become a musician despite his family's ban on music. Miguel believes that he can change his family members' minds by performing at the Dia De Los Muertos talent show. Yet, after sneaking into a famed musician's mausoleum and attempting to steal a guitar, he finds himself stuck in the Land of the Dead. Miguel then has to try to find his way back home before he is stuck there forever. The film ultimately tells a story of treasuring one's family and loved ones, whether they are with us now or have passed on.


With images of ofrendas, shrines where family photos pay tribute to loved ones lost, and marigolds, the film is a beautiful tribute to Mexican culture and the holiday of Dia De Los Muertos. Images of papel picado bannerscut-tissue-paper streamers that line the streets during times of celebration, and alebrijes, spirit animals inspired by the country’s colorful folk-art sculptures, show the effort the film's crew went into respecting Mexican culture. Pixar took extra precautions to ensure the authenticity of the culturally significant film, enlisting the help of cultural consultants such as writer/director/producer Ligiah Villalobos, one of NALIP's #WeAreInclusion profiles who also consulted on Pixar's previous film, "Planes". The film also casted an almost exclusively Latino voice cast, many of whom reprised their roles in the Spanish language version of the film that premiered a month earlier in Mexico.

The film ranked number one in the box office over Thanksgiving weekend, and is sure to continue a successful run in the weeks to come. Not surprising for a Pixar film, it's also up for contention for the 2018 Academy Awards in multiple categories. "Coco" is currently in theaters and is a great film to watch with family members!

Watch NALIP's Interview with "Coco's" Co-Director Adrian Molina


Read more at Variety 


Image Courtesy of Indiewire

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's newest film "The Shape of Water", distributed by FOX Searchlight Pictures, is a step away from his big budget blockbusters like del Toro's "Pacific Rim" and "Hellboy" and more towards his original Spanish-language fantasy films like "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labryinth". "The Shape of Water" is best described as a dark fantasy-romance, and tells the story of Eliza Esposito, a mute cleaner at an aerospace research facility in the early 1960s. The film reveals that the research facility holds a humanoid amphibian creature, whom Eliza befriends and finds a kinship with as they both are different from others in their own ways. 

The film is filled with vivid imagery and colors that are signature to all of del Toro's films. It does not skimp on the visual details, particularly in it's beautiful sets and costumes. It also tackles the issue of being "other" in the 60's in America, whether this means being gay, a person of color, or someone with a disability like Eliza. This is contrasted with the increasing consumerist nature of the American public, and how wealth and status defined people rather than basic human decency. Del Toro has also stated influences in the classic 1954 film "Creature from the Black Lagoon", and was inspired to make a film where the girl falls in love with an amphibian monster. 

The film won the Golden Lion at this years 74th annual Venice Film Festival. It will be under limited release in New York on Dec. 1, then will release across the U.S. on Dec. 8th. The film is sure to touch audiences with an unconventional love plot and a message of acceptance amidst alienation. 

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter