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"Encanto": A Portrait of Colombia that does not ignore the Armed Conflict

Encanto, the new Disney production, has Colombia as the protagonist and where magical realism, music and some quite particular characters steal the eye in this new film. This is our review.

Still from the movie 'Encanto'

It is no secret to anyone that the father of magical realism is Gabriel García Márquez, well, this production uses this literary movement to enhance the film and give it a greater sense of belonging and a hug to the roots. Photo: YT-Disney Studios

LatinAmerican Post | Nicolás Donoso Álvarez

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Leer en español: "Encanto": Un retrato de Colombia que no deja de lado el conflicto armado

Colombia is on the front pages in the last time with the brand new premiere of a new Disney movie that once again bets on taking us to Latin America and getting to know all its roots and customs. Encanto is a journey through the coffee-growing country that radiates colors, melodies, extremely special characters and too much magic and supernatural powers that enrich the film.

The production is about Los Madrigal, a family that lives in Encanto, a town located in the middle of the mountains of Colombia that is enchanted and where practically all the members of the family have a supernatural power that marks them since childhood. Everyone in the family is magical except for the protagonist, Mirabel, a girl who does not understand why others have special gifts and she does not. However, in the face of a threat that puts her home in check, Mirabel could be the person to have the solution.

It should be noted that this film is directed by Byron Howard, who won the Oscar in 2016 in the category of best animated film for his success in Zootopia, Jared Bush, who was the screenwriter of Moana, and with Charise Castro Smith as the co-director, who has vast experience as a playwright and who makes her absolute debut in cinematography in this production.

Likewise, the musicalization of this film is in charge of Lin-Manuel Miranda, with an extensive career in theater, television and cinema, participating in films such as Star Wars: Episode VII - The awakening of the force, Moana or The Dark Matter. This time, he composed a total of eight songs for Encanto. Two of these topics were written entirely in Spanish. While the main song: "Colombia, mi Encanto", was written by Miranda and performed by Carlos Vives and Isa Mosquera, and has rhythms such as salsa, cumbia and reggaeton.

Magical realism and armed conflict take the lead

After the success that Coco meant for Disney, the company has begun to look more closely in Latin America. Encanto, in addition to being set in Colombia, has a lot of the country's and the continent's culture in general. And it is no secret that the father of magical realism is Gabriel García Márquez, well, this production uses this literary movement to enhance the film and give it a greater sense of belonging.

But Encanto also develops a problem that perhaps for people who do not live in Colombia can go unnoticed or be totally unknown, such as the armed conflict. This problem is a scar that has not healed in the Latin country and that began back many years ago. In Encanto, this situation is approached with total success (the next paragraphs may contain some kind of spoiler), with Alma Madrigal, the matriarch of the Madrigal family, who in her youth, along with her three newborn children, had to flee her old home with her husband and other people in order to find another place to live due to the armed conflicts (this would end up costing her husband his life).

Read also: "House of Gucci": a great work about power and social differences

Disney bets again on formulas that previously were successful

Recently, Disney had addressed in the movie "Luca" a quite similar conflict such as immigration. Perhaps at that time it was not directly, but it could be inferred from the fact that the protagonists are two animals that come from the sea and that transform into human beings when they leave the water, which can mean a new beginning. Which can also be interpreted that way because both protagonists are afraid of being discovered, and this can be understood as a fear that the inhabitants are xenophobic.

Therefore, the inclusion of children's films such as Encanto on topics such as the armed conflict are necessary, timely and appreciated, since they address issues that have generated deep pain in many Latin American countries. In addition, it is always good to remember, make visible and show new generations what happened in the past in their countries. And if to that you add a good script, a great soundtrack and endless narrative resources, then much better.