From a certain point of view, Que Viva México represents a second perspective about the juxtaposition of Mexico and wealth, capitalism, and America, after Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo. But if the latter made a film profoundly immersed in art and creativity, Luis Estrada conveyed a much more direct message against society in general, targeting all levels, from the individual to the entire country. The plot hides a lot of meaning, and the ending may need to be explained: let’s face everything together in this article.
You can watch the official trailer for Que Viva México here on Youtube.
Que Viva México, the plot & ending explained: what’s the movie meaning?
In the plot of Que Viva México, we are dragged into the life of the Reyes family. We follow the movie from Pancho’s perspective: he’s a manager in a Mexican factory, he has a family, and they all live a wealthy lifestyle, partially disproportioned to their actual income. Pancho comes from a destitute family, he refuses to see them, he left years before, and he’s completely focused on advancing in his career, so they can be more rich.
Every action in Que Viva México is driven by greed, which becomes the movie’s authentic meaning. The day Pancho’s father starts calling him insistently, he avoids him all day. He answers only at the end of the day, discovering that his grandfather is dead: Pancho is required home to read the will. He’s unwilling to return because he doesn’t believe the grandfather left anything valuable. Still, in a dream, he recalls the gold grandpa used to talk about. The morning after, he decides to go. Notice that there could be other valid reasons to go, related to what his family needs and may deserve, but none of that motivates him for his decision. He wants to go only to discover what his grandfather left him. It’s (potential) money calling.
When we arrive in La Prosperidad, we get to understand what Pancho means by “humble origins”: his family is composed of dozens of people, all living in one big house with no money. The economy of the place is non-existent, and the only cash flows we see are related to food & services for families, drugs, and prostitution. For his family, Pancho is the son who got rich and abandoned them, which is not far from the truth: every relationship in that family spins around money and is oriented to steal from others whatever they can.
After the grandfather’s will is revealed, things degenerate quickly: Grandpa leaves all the valuable possessions to Pancho, the only family member that doesn’t really need it. We also discover that the grandfather kept a lot of gold in his safe for his whole life, letting the entire family live in poverty despite having the chance to offer them a better lifestyle. Why? In this case, it’s not just greed. The reason is that most of the people we see in Que Viva Mexico are genuinely evil, which is why they all crave to have more and never get anything.
The plot of Que Viva Mexico evolves in the most incredible way, and, at some point, it gets surreal. Pancho hides the gold in the desert, scared that his family will steal it, and then shoots a cousin and ends up in prison. Nobody finds the gold for days; he’s forced to sell all the lands he inherited to his uncle, the mayor, then spends days digging the desert, looking for his gold. He dies, he resuscitates, and decides to leave and return home. After all, his greed left him with nothing: at the factory, he’s downgraded to a cleaner and is now forced to live a much humbler lifestyle. The same destiny applies to his old family, evicted from their home by the uncle, who now owns everything. The ending of Que Viva Mexico has explained to us how life can be of no meaning if you just follow the money: ultimately, the gold will go to the company that helps the uncle dig the desert, unrelated to all other characters.
There would be so many moments in the protagonists’ life to take a break, step back, and start acting driven by empathy, altruism, and values. But nobody ever tries to do that. Everything they do is oriented toward making money, over any form of respect towards others. And the ending of Que Viva México explained what happens if you are driven only by that: your worst nightmares become true. Indeed, the last scene proves that Pancho is not dreaming this time: his family really moved in, and poverty conquered his life.
The meaning of the movie Que Viva México is related to all layers of society: the individuals are evil because they live in awful conditions, and the country’s economy is affected by the cultural background of society. From Luis Estrada’s perspective, Mexico is broken because every single individual thinks and acts egotistically, not caring at all about others and having zero sense of community. A critical vision of society that includes a pessimistic view of capitalism, able to ruin the world by making everyone obsessed with money.