Dia de los Muertos is a south-of-the-border holiday celebrating the lives of deceased loved ones and it turns out that Mexicanos aren’t the only ones who deeply respect this time-honored tradition.
“Of all the cultures I’ve visited and been to, I find the Mexican way of dealing with (death) the most positive,” “Frankenweenie” director Tim Burton told the Wall Street Journal while on a recent trip to Mexico City.
Burton – the director behind quirky cult classics such as “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – said that the Mexican tradition of celebrating death through music, rituals and costumes inspired him to portray death in a light-hearted manner in his latest film, “Frankenweenie.”
“Frankenweenie” – an animated full-length Disney feature which earned $11.4 million throughout the course of its fall 2012 run – tells the story of young Victor, whose science experiment to revive his deceased dog Sparky results in some unexpected adventures.
Burton told the Wall Street Journal that the film was his “most personal film so far,” with many scenes stemming from real memories. Above all, Burton told the newspaper, the Latinos in his Burbank, California neighborhood roused his imagination with their cheerful attitude towards death; colorful, lively and at times, even comical with the use of skeletons depicted playing guitars or smoking cigarettes.
And movie fans of Burton interviewed by the Wall Street Journal seem to indicate the admiration is mutual.
“Mexicans always keep the dead close,” said Policarpo Cruz, a 38-year-old Mexican accountant who waited outside the St. Regis Hotel in Mexico City with his young son in hopes of a glimpse of the famed director. “They always visit. They’re company for us. That doesn’t scare us. It’s agreeable that the dead don’t leave, but stay. Family is so important for our culture and we need to maintain that unity. That’s what Tim Burton does: he gives life to the dead. To us, that’s normal. That’s how we live in Mexico.”