Music History and Theory Forum

Spring 2021

with Dr. Jacqueline Avila (University of Tennessee)
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | 3:30 pm PDT | Virtual Event
Representations of Mexicans in Hollywood cinema have typically recycled negative stereotypes, but Pixar’s Coco (2017) provides a divergent interpretation. Set during Día de muertos, Coco embellishes several signifiers from the comedia ranchera, a film genre that showcased Mexican popular culture and musical performance, and elements of contemporary Mexican popular culture to provide a novel portrayal of Mexicanidad­—the cultural identity of the Mexican people—for a new generation. Premiering during a socially unstable period, I argue that Coco utilizes earlier cinematic and musical formulas, evoking Mexico’s cinematic past, to construct a visual, aural, and narrative portrayal of Mexicanidad that confronts and destabilizes past cinematic representations.