Seven films about Mexico and the Day of the Dead
Day of the dead, a very lively tradition
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Day of the dead, a very lively tradition
Although in recent years the theme of the Day of the Dead has been present in major film productions, such as ""007: Specter"" or ""The Justice League,"" the truth is that several films have been inspired by this celebration throughout history.
These are seven films that feature the Day of the Dead:
¡Que Viva México! (1930-1932)
Attracted by various characteristics about Mexico, such as those made by John Reed during the Mexican Revolution, the Soviet director Sergei M. Eisenstein came to the country to produce a film that portrayed national traditions.
However, the director of ""The Battleship Potemkin"" stayed on Mexican soil longer than he had initially planned, so he ran out of budget and could not finish his work.
In 1972, another Soviet filmmaker, Grigori Aleksandrov, managed to edit a version of ""¡Que Viva México!,” which is divided into four episodes: Sandunga, Maguey, Fiesta and Soldadera, as well as a prologue and an epilogue. The latter is dedicated to the Day of the Dead and refers to the engravings of Guadalupe Posada.
Eisenstein was the first to bring this festivity to the world through cinema and surprised audiences with the cult that Mexicans render to death.
The Godson of Death (1946)
Dionisio is a farmer looking for a godfather for his son, and in a drunkenness inside a pantheon, a rich woman and a poor woman appear who offer themselves as godmothers, but he rejects them, arguing that they do not offer what he wants for his little one.
Finally, Death appears to him and informs that this was the best option because it meets the characteristics of the poor and the rich. The child grows and, being the son of servitude, he became a corporal.
Starring Jorge Negrete and directed by the American Norman Foster, this story is inspired (although not entirely) by the Brothers Grimm.
Starring Ignacio López Tarso and directed by Roberto Gavaldón, ""Macario"" is the film of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema that is most related to the Day of the Dead. Because of this, the film is consistently present across many television channels during the celebration.
Filled with classic scenes from Mexican cinema (such as when La Muerte shows Macario the cave with candles that represent the lives of the people of the world), this film showcases López Tarso’s outstanding acting, an excellent photograph by Gabriel Figueroa and a beautiful script created by Emilio Carballido.
The film is based on a novel set during the colonial era. Macario, an indigenous man, is related to Death and helps heal people to get out of poverty. “Macario” is the first Mexican film to be nominated for an Oscar.
Calacan is one of the greatest experiments in the history of Mexican cinema and has become a cult film among Mexicans, especially for those who saw the film when they were children.
Directed by Luis Kelly, ""Calacan"" emerged from an experimental film competition and caused great interest when it first premiered (it is said that there was “portazo” the day of its premiere at the National Cinematheque).
The actors of the theater company La Trouppe participated in the film, as well as giant puppetsthat served as characters who danced and sang.
The film is about a boy who, on the eve of Dia de Los Muertos, discovers that in his town they want to sell plastic pumpkins, which puts the Mexican tradition of this festivity at risk, so he decides to go to Calacán to warn of this danger to its inhabitants.
The Legend of the Nahuala (2007)
Animation was practically non-existent in Mexican cinema for several years, but Ánima Estudios took advantage of computer animation to make a new type of film.
One of them is ""La Leyenda de la Nahuala"" and its sequels (""La Leyenda de la Llorona"", ""The Legend of the Mummies of Guanajuato"", ""The Legend of the Chupacabras"" and ""The Legend of the Black Charro"").
In the first film, Leo San Juan, a boy who lives in Puebla during colonial times, begins a chilling adventure when his older brother, Nando, is captured by Nahuala.
Along the way, Leo meets different friends, ranging from a millennial ghost to a somewhat clumsy alebrije, and accompany him throughout the saga.
The Book of Life (2014)
Produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Mexican Jorge R. Gutiérrez, this 3-D animation film presents La Catrina narrating the story of Manolo and Joaquín, who are in love with María and who have a strange encounter with the Land of Remembrances and the Land of the Forgotten. The film is set in a town in Mexico called San Ángel and centers around the Day of the Dead.
The film features voices of various actors such as Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Kate del Castillo, Eugenio Derbez and Plácido Domingo, and an accompanying movie soundtrack with pop and rock classics.