'Coco' Star Benjamin Bratt on Why the Movie Is 'Cause for Celebration' in Trump's America

Benjamin Bratt tells PEOPLE that a movie celebrating Latino culture is perfect in the midst of President Donald Trump's first year in office

Premiere Of Disney Pixar's "Coco" - Red Carpet
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Disney/Pixar’s latest movie Coco is giving a voice to Latino culture — and its stars say it’s coming at an appropriate time.

Benjamin Bratt, who is half-Peruvian, tells PEOPLE that a family film celebrating Latino culture is perfect in the midst of President Donald Trump‘s first year in office.

“That celebration is cause for celebration because sitting in the White House is a man who’s no friend of Latinos and one who has denigrated our culture, loosely labeled us as rapists and murderers, and that couldn’t be more far from the truth,” Bratt, 53, told PEOPLE at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

“Without focusing on that, and focusing on the matter at hand, Coco celebrates our uniqueness, celebrates the fact that we’re a community of love and family ties, artistic expression, beautiful language, and wonderful traditions.”

Coco follows a young boy who befriends a musician during the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, which is also celebrated in many Latin cultures. With a fully Latin voice cast, Coco shines a light on Latino culture.

Premiere Of Disney Pixar's "Coco" - Arrivals
JB Lacroix/ WireImage

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who plays the musician, says the film can inspire young Latinos living in America who may be dealing with the fear of rejection due to the political climate. The actor tells PEOPLE he wants to dedicate the film to all the young descendants living in the U.S.

“I want to dedicate it to them because in this moment these kids are growing with a lot of fear,” Garcia Bernal, 38, said. “The established narrative says that these kids come from families that are rapists, murderers, or drug traffickers. This film, amongst many other traditions that we do every day in life, just shows there is no definition that any president, as good as can be, can put us into.”

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He continues, “We are such a complex culture, so profound, and these kids need to be empowered. These kids need to feel that they are not that, that that’s a lie that’s being said. I hope this film gives them the strength to speak out and say, that’s not true, and just completely not listen to that.”

Coco is now in theaters.

  • Reporting by RAHA LEWIS
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