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Re-animating Mexicanidad: Mexican Cultural Representations in The Book of Life (2014) and Coco (2017)

iMex. México Interdisciplinario/Interdisciplinary Mexico. 2020;9(18):112-129 DOI 10.23692/iMex.18.8


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Journal Title: iMex. México Interdisciplinario/Interdisciplinary Mexico

ISSN: 2193-9756 (Online)

Publisher: Prof. Dr. Vittoria Borsò, Prof. Dr. Frank Leinen, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Yasmin Temelli, Prof. Dr. Guido Rings

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature

Country of publisher: Germany

Language of fulltext: English, Spanish

Full-text formats available: PDF



Jessica Wax-Edwards


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Time From Submission to Publication: 53 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In the last decade, Hollywood studios have produced two feature length animations centering on Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos: Reel FX Creative Studios’ The Book of Life (2014) and Disney Pixar’s Coco (2017). Through their differing exploration of Mexican cultural heritage onscreen, both animations serve contrasting ideological functions that contribute to larger cultural discourse about the relationship between Mexico and the US. The Book of Life was released two years prior to the controversial presidential campaign of Donald Trump and offers a typical depiction of Mexico as an exotic other. In contrast, Coco, a film produced during the time of the election and released in the US eleven months after Trump’s inauguration, has been described as subversive filmmaking due to its detailed and positive representation of Mexican cultural heritage in a climate of increasing political antagonism towards the country (del Barco 2017). This article explores how these respective cultural depictions of Mexican heritage relate to the industrial structures that produced them as well as the differing socio-political climates in which they were produced and released.