Skip to navigationSkip to content
Mexico Day of the Dead, James Bond
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
Dead. Day of the Dead.
LIFE IMITATING ART

A centuries-old Mexican tradition has been transformed by James Bond

By Johnny Simon

The latest James Bond film, Spectre, opens with a kinetic chase scene in Mexico City, with actors ripping through a massive Day of the Dead parade featuring ornate masks, drummers, giant puppets, and floats. As breathtaking as the scene was, it wasn’t necessarily culturally accurate.

With its blend of indigenous and Spanish traditions, Mexico’s Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is traditionally a somber, though sometimes lively celebration spent with family by the graveside of departed loved ones. Food, drink, flowers, and mementos are left at altars in homes and cemeteries as people gather to remember loved ones.

But the interest generated by the 007 film encouraged local officials to bring the imagined Mexico to life.

“When this movie hit the big screen and was seen by millions and millions of people in 67 countries, that started to create expectations that we would have something,” Lourdes Berho, head of the Mexico Tourism Board, told the Associated Press.

On Saturday, a real Day of the Dead parade drew thousands to the streets in Mexico City. It featured actual props from the film, along with other pop culture influences inspired by American Halloween customs and television shows like The Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead on AMC, which filmed in Mexico for its recent season.

Here are some images from Mexico City’s first ever Day of the Dead parade.

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
The parade moves along Reforma Avenue in Mexico City.
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
Thousands watch as a Day of the Dead parade arrives at the main Zocalo plaza in Mexico City.
Reuters/Carlos Jasso
Participants painted their faces to look like skulls. The woman at center is dressed as La Catrina, the dapper skeleton from the work of Mexican folk artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

 

Reuters/Carlos Jasso
Participants in the “Day of the Dead” parade in Mexico City on Oct. 29.