Disney’s ‘Encanto’ examines and reflects family life
DUBAI: There has long been a strong cultural link between Latin America and the Arab world. Hundreds of thousands of people from the Levant have emigrated to Latin America over the past 150 years.
It’s no wonder, then, that when Lebanese animator Louaye Moulayess began work on “Encanto,” Disney’s latest musical, he saw in the film’s large, diverse Colombian family a reflection of his own.
“The biggest thing that I connected with in this project is that I have a really big family in Lebanon,” Moulayess tells Arab News. “It really made me question the relationships I have with my own family, and how well I know them, and how well they know each of us. With the lead character of Mirabel, I kept thinking of my oldest cousin back in Lebanon, Louisa. She carries a lot of weight and responsibility. A lot of the characters made me think about each of my own family members, and what they’re going through. Each character in their family reminded me of one in mine.”
Moulayess and his family connected with Latin American culture a while back, he explains, thanks to the telenovelas that have proved so popular in the Arab world.
“Growing up, I remember my parents, my mom and my aunts and I watching a lot of (those) in Lebanon. One of the key songs in the film, ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’ reminds me a lot of those shows,” says Moulayess.
Part of Moulayess’s job is to film ‘reference shots’ — acting scenes out physically in front of the camera so those performances can be animated to match each character’s movements. As a result, Moulayess has to get into the heads of each character, including the film’s lead, Mirabel.