Let the world spice up your life.

Cafetalk Tutor's Column

Tutor Francisco José Martínez Vicente 's Column

Coco: a movie to know the Mexican culture.

Weekly Topic: Recommend movies to your students

Apr 25, 2019

The film Coco is one of the latest creations of the Disney-Pixar factory. His protagonist, a boy named Miguel, must overcome the opposition of his family to be a musician as big as his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. During a magical night, you will travel to the world of the dead, where you will meet Ernesto and his ancestors. 

Coco, in addition to being a delicious movie for the whole family, has a great cultural burden related to Mexico. Almost every frame refers to a song, character, myth or place of Mexican culture, so the film, besides being enormously attractive for our students, deserves a viewing for ELE class. 

We propose not only diverse activities related to the Day of the Dead, Mexican popular music or the most famous Mexican celebrities internationally but also activities related to the family and the physical description taking advantage of Coco's characters.

In short, it is about publicizing and paying tribute to Mexico. The Olympic Games took place in the capital of this country 50 years ago, games that projected the image of Mexico to the whole world.

Immerse yourself in the culture of Mexico and, just as Dorothy came to the city of Esmeralda through the yellow brick road, she passes with your students through a path covered with cempasuchiles to the other world by the hand of Coco.

Before watching the movie.
Coco movie takes place on Día de Muertos (Death Day) in Mexico. To know this cultural tradition, we suggest that you do the following activity.

Watch the video and answer the questions.


En México la conmemoración del Día de Muertos es muy macabra y oscura.
  • Truth.
  • False.
2. El origen del día de muertos está en la Mesoamérica prehispánica.
  • Truth
  • False
3. Los pueblos prehispánicos honraban a sus muertos con ofrendas durante todo el año.
  • Truth
  • False
4. Algunos de los pueblos indígenas que celebraban el día de muertos, eran los purépechas, los mexicas y los mayas.
  • Truth
  • False
5. El Día de Muertos coincide con las fechas católicas de Corpus Christi y los Santos Inocentes.
  • Truth
  • False
6. Muchas familias colocan en sus casas ofrendas dedicadas a sus seres queridos muertos.
  • Truth
  • False
7. Otras personas van a poner sus ofrendas familiares en los atrios de las iglesias.
  • Truth
  • False
8. Las familias que pasan la noche en los cementerios rezan y comparten recuerdos sobre sus muertos mientras velan.
  • Truth
  • False
9. Las flores de cempasúchil que guían a los muertos son de color blanco.
  • Truth
  • False
10. El pan de muerto, las calaveritas de azúcar, la sal, el copal y el papel picado son elementos importantes de las ofrendas del Día de Muertos.
  • Truth
  • False
11. En las tumbas de los niños que murieron los familiares usan globos en lugar de flores.
  • Truth
  • False
12. La Velación de las Ánimas y el Día de Muertos son Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad de la Unesco.
  • Truth
  • False

Aprende vocabulario.

Some differences between Día de Muertos and Halloween.
Watch the video and think of the differences or the similarities between the two traditions. Leave your answer on the comment box, please, and share it! 

Watch Coco movie trailer and look at the poster. Can you guess what it is the story? Who will be the main character of the movie and what adventures the character will live? Leave your answer on the comment box.

To help you, try to write your opinion using the following structures: 
  • Yo creo que + indicativo
  • Seguramente + indicativo
  • A lo mejor/Igual/Lo mismo + indicativo
  • Puede que/Es posible/Es probable + subjuntivo
  • Quizá/Tal vez/Posiblemente/Probablemente + subjuntivo / indicativo


Then you will learn some words that will be useful when watching the movie. Use wordreference dictionary (Spanish - English).

  • Difunto.
  • La llorona.
  • Velar.
  • Tamal.
  • Ritual.
  • Altar.
  • Pan de muerto.
  • Alebrije.
  • Velas.
  • Ofrenda.
  • Papel picado (confeti).
  • Mariachi.
  • Veladoras.
  • Cementerio. 
  • Copal.
  • Flor de cempasúchil.
  • Calaca.
  • Tumba.
  • Mole.
  • Catrina.
  • Calavera.
  • Rezar.
  • Atole.
La llorona song. 

That's a very popular Mexican song which tells the story of a ghost who is looking for her children at night. If you want to find out more, click here.

I love karaoke, don't you? Here you are the song and the lyrics. Learn new vocabulary singing.

Watch the movie online.

Coco movie is available at Google Play, Amazon, App Store and Neflix. 
You can watch it online: Coco

Got a question? Click to Chat