Although the story is universal, some hints of the film will only be understood by Colombians.
To achieve that level of detail, the Disney producers worked with the advice of Colombian anthropologists, botanists, musicians, linguists and architects.
1. Violence and forced displacement
The Madrigal family was forced to leave their village because of the violence.
In real life, millions of Colombians have suffered a similar situation: they have been forcibly displaced due to the internal conflict between guerrillas, paramilitaries, drug traffickers and the country’s armed forces, which began more than 60 years ago.
Colombia is the country with the most internally displaced persons in the world.
Between 1985 and 2020, more than 8.3 million people in Colombia had to leave their home fleeing the violence, according to figures from the Colombian government that includes a report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) of June 2021.
Colombia is one of the 17 countries that the United Nations Environment Program recognizes as megadiverse.
According to data from the Colombian government, the country is home to 14% of the planet’s biodiversity in its territory.
The Madrigal house is surrounded by wax palms from the Cocora Valley, which are the national tree of Colombia and the tallest palm trees in the world, reaching 60 meters in height.
You can also see the coffee plantations, the variety of flowers and the exuberance of the Amazonian vegetation.
Little Antonio lives surrounded by toucans, tapirs, chigüiros, coatis and a jaguar, the largest feline in America, and the third largest in the world after the lion and the tiger.
Most jaguars live in the Amazon and are constantly threatened by deforestation.
There is also a scene dedicated to the river of the seven colors, located in Caño Cristales, in the Serranía de la Macarena Natural Park.
3. The music
The miscegenation between Europeans, Africans and native Indians produced in Colombia a musical variety that changes from region to region.
In “Encanto” the accordion appears, of German origin, and the main instrument of the vallenato, a musical genre from the Colombian Caribbean brother of the cumbia, which also plays throughout the film.
The central song of the movie “Colombia, mi encanto”, performed by Carlos Vives, is a modern version of a vallenato with accordion mixed with champeta, another rhythm originating in the Colombian Caribbean, very popular in cities like Cartagena and with African and Antillean roots .
Salsa is also heard, although it is not of Colombian origin, it is very popular throughout the country, with the city of Cali as one of its bastions.
The piano notes played by Mirabel’s father correspond to the beginning of the song “En Barranquilla me quedo”, by the singer Joe Arroyo. The song is one of the hymns of the Barranquilla Carnival, one of the most important folkloric festivals in the country.
4. The clothing
Mirabel’s colorful dress is inspired by a typical costume from the municipality of Vélez, in the department of Santander, which is used for special occasions and which is honored in the festivities of that region.
The bag that he carries is a backpack very similar to those made by the Wayuú indigenous people, who live in desert areas on the La Guajira peninsula, facing the Caribbean Sea in northern Colombia.
We also see people wearing “vueltiaos” hats and guayabera shirts, very popular in the Caribbean region, where the climate is warm.
Instead, Bruno and other characters use ruanas, which are ponchos widely used in departments such as Boyacá and Cundinamarca, to protect themselves from the cold of the highlands in the center of the country.
5. The food
Although Colombia and Venezuela dispute the authorship of arepas, “Encanto” reflects the central role they play in Colombian cuisine.
In the country, each region has its own type of arepas. They are fried or roasted, made from corn or cassava flour, sweet or salty, large or small, and with a variety of fillings.
As Mirabel’s mother shows, a hot cheese arepita can be the solution to many problems.
Buñuelos also appear, very popular at Christmas time.
At Isabela’s engagement dinner, the main dish is ajiaco santafereño, a chicken, potato and corn soup typical of the capital.
The gift that Mirabel receives at the beginning of the film are the famous flowerpots from Valle del Cauca, in western Colombia.
These are sugarcane-based sweets that each year the godparents deliver on the traditional Godson Day. The pots are accompanied by colorful kegs and ornaments.
Other curious facts
The yellow butterflies: they are one of the most striking symbols of the magical realism of the Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez and his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
The silleteros: in a scene where Mirabel sings, she sees a couple of peasants carrying heavy flower arrangements behind her. They are the silleteros, emblematic characters of the department of Antioquia dedicated to floriculture and who each year compete in the silleteros parade at the Medellín Flower Fair.
The shuffleboard: in the same sequence men appear playing shuffleboard. The game is typical of the central zone of the country and consists of throwing a metallic disk against some sheets of gunpowder that are arranged in the middle of mud or clay. If the puck hits the gunpowder ballot there is an outburst of victory.
The Salt: Bruno throws salt over his shoulder because in some regions of the country this is an omen that provides protection against difficult times or risky situations.
Point with your mouth: if you are in Colombia and you ask where is some place or where is an object that you need, do not be surprised or upset if instead of pointing with your finger, the person responds by pointing with your mouth to indicate the direction correct, just as Mirabel does to her cousin Antonio.
“La casita”: she is herself a character in the film. Its architecture is reminiscent of the typical haciendas of the coffee zone of Colombia, but the balconies and the bougainvillea that hang from them remind us of the famous colonial houses of the Historic Center of Cartagena.
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