Celebrate the Book of Life, Western-Style

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)


Not many films truly acknowledge what another culture’s celebration is mainly about, and with The Book of Life, it does more than introduce to the world what the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is about. It’s known as a time for family and friends to gather together to honour and remember those who have passed, but there’s more; for some people, it is a time of introspection. This three-day celebration begins October 31st and not everyone considers the image of the skull frightening.

This time to celebrate is a communion to show that nobody, in close familial bonds or mutual companionship, is not forgotten. And that’s what makes this film enjoyable to follow. The story is centred upon the deep affection three close friends have for each other while growing up in the fictional Mexican town of San Ángel. In their childhood, Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoe Saldaña), and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) are inseparable even though the passion of the heart and following what their parents want for them to become as adults would insert daggers into their relationship. After Maria is taken away to learn how to grow up to be a proper lady, Manolo and Joaquin are groomed to be, respectively, the world’s greatest bull fighter and soldier for their little town.

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