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Guillermo del Toro's 'Book of Life' moves audiences to tears

Guillermo del Toro's 'Book of Life' moves audiences to tears
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Mexican mariachis set the tone at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘The Book of Life’ – the latest film by award-winning producer Guillermo Del Toro.

It tells the story of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. In love with the beautiful Maria, he faces his greatest fears and defies death itself to be reunited with her.

US actress Zoe Saldana lends her voice to Maria, while Manolo is voiced by Diego Luna.

“I believe young kids should have access to films like this. I, as a father, am always searching for films that are interesting but also that celebrate the intelligence of kids and this one does that,” said the Mexican actor.

The feature debut of Mexican small screen animator Jorge Gutierrez, the film is set during the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead, when people get together to remember friends and family who have passed away.

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo plays the voice of Death.

“For me, it’s so Mexican and so beautiful that we really do venerate death. El Dia de Los Muertos, we celebrate, we take mariachis and we take the best drinks and food to the graves. It isn’t about crying or suffering. It’s actually the opposite,” she said.

For Guillermo del Toro, it was important for the film to travel without losing its Mexican flavour.

“Well, we wanted a movie for all audiences, all over the world, but we knew we didn’t want to dilute the movie. So the biggest challenge in the movie was, within the budget and within the schedule, to deliver a movie that looks spectacular, huge but pure,” he said.

The film was warmly received at the premiere, with one critic saying she was "moved to tears", while another described it as "a visually stunning effort that (...) sweeps you into its fantastical world".

‘The Book of Life’ is on global release from mid-October.