-18 wasn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe for once, C beats A which is the neck-breaking front row, by being a preferred 2 rows behind. Before the real show came on, it was a rather bright seat – one that’s right at the right-most side when I face the screen, and right under a spotlight. One of those few spotlights at the sides of the dark room to guide you to your designated seats. Doesn’t matter if the screen is slightly slanted from this angle, from this perspective. The full screen is still in clear view, isn’t it?
I imagined a theatre full of children. Instinctively, it is a show for them, of them. At least the genre is. Which still is my favourite genre of movies, for a kid who refuses to grow up. It is a genre where anything and everything is possible, where special effects are not the gimmicky props blended into reality to achieve the supposedly realistic effects. All of us were kids once, and still have a choice to remain so in certain aspects. It was full house, with the majority being adults, though I couldn’t see them all clearly in the dark room, but it didn’t felt like a theatre overwhelmed by parents, not at all.
As usual, I refrained from browsing reviews, or the plot, or any detailed background before the show. Perhaps a short unintended trailer here, a quick intro read there. Rather enjoy it through a fresh, unbiased perspective, and catch the surprises along the way as there are bound to be. Of course, there has to be a compelling reason that pulled me into the dark room in the first place. This time, it was music. True enough, the plan worked, and I was not disappointed the least bit.
It was more than music. More of the before and after of the role of music to one huge extended family spanning the living and the dead. Of memories re-defined, or rather, framed in age-old Mexican culture now brought to light with wider exposure. Of skeletons that were the least gothic, that wouldn’t scare the wits out of their little audiences, let alone the older ones. Of family, what binds and what tears them apart, which ironically could be the very same thing. Of persistence. Of remembrance. Of memories. Of death.
It led me to wonder, if death is a topic too sombre to bridge to the little bubbly ones in the family, then this movie serves a higher purpose in introducing them to this natural course of (the end of) life. It takes the adult to appreciate the true meanings and understand the continuous plot twists. It is so tempting, to jump to our own conclusions when the facts seemed to fall into place so logically, so nicely, though only at face value. We like stories so much that narrative bias is not easy to fight against. The truth hits hard, but it is also where the ultimate beauty lies.
The show was named after its character Coco. She is a binding character of unspoken charm, though not one with the most lines nor frame shots. The story was weaved all around her. On the sideline, I was surprised that one of the leads in the show, the main lead’s dog actually, was named Dante, who may have been Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet of the Early Renaissance. It should not be surprising, since the show talks about life and death, even life after death, which bears an inkling of association to The Divine Comedy written by Dante on afterlife.
This seemed to also bear connection with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), which happened to be on my mind of late. Not that I was reminiscing cartoons of my childhood days, but more of that I finally learnt the full names of those 4 leading turtles. I vaguely knew the turtles since young, but do not consciously remember their names by heart. Possibly because: 1. I wasn’t such a big fan of theirs, and 2. their names were pretty long and hard to pronounce (which was another surprise as I thought I have a weird tendency to prefer things that are technically tougher… perhaps this syndrome only kicked in beyond the actual childhood period).
As a recap, the 4 TMNT were named after Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael, four renowned Italian Artists of the Renaissance period. Artist is an understatement, as some wore many accomplished hats more than that, especially Leonardo da Vinci. It was said that the namings were the result of the turtles’ creators being big fans of art history. Perhaps it was also an unintended way to introduce the artists to the world, as not everyone of every generation is well-acquainted with the arts scene, let alone arts history. Beginning with children is not bad a way, but in my case, it might have taken way too longer for the “facts” to sink in..
I can’t help but wonder, if Dante / Leonardo / Donatello / Michelangelo / Raphael would actually rise from their graves, wherever they are, if they knew that they were being named after a dog and turtles that made it to the big screens all over the world, centuries after they passed on.
After all, memories can take countless forms to live on.
Most important of all, memories live on.