Colombian embassy cosplays as latest Disney movie setting

The Colombian ambassador's residence in Washington was dressed up Thursday as the house from Disney's latest animated feature, "Encanto," a magical realism story set in the mountains of Colombia.

The tony residence, a 1905 mansion built for businessman Thomas T. Gaff, was decked in flowers and faux brick tiles, disguising the chateâuesque pomp behind Andean village flair, reminiscent of the main character's home in the film.

Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón was joined at the event celebrating the movie's Colombian roots by Colombian actor Mauro Castillo, who plays the character "Felix" in "Encanto."


"Through watching Encanto you will experience what makes Colombia the second most biodiverse country in the world and why we rank first in diversity of bird and orchid species, and second in amphibians, plants, butterflies, and freshwater fish," Pinzón told attendees.

According to Disney, "Encanto" — "charm" in Spanish — is set in a magical village in Colombia's mountains, where the Madrigal family children all have a special gift except for Mirabel, the Madrigal daughter who is the key to saving the village's magic.

The incorporation of magic into a societal narrative is a shoutout to Latin American magical realism, the genre that Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez perfected, earning a Nobel Prize for literature in the process.

The embassy's decorations included yellow butterflies, a reference to García Márquez's "100 Years of Solitude," in which yellow butterflies accompany every appearance of a character that breaks social class molds.

"'Encanto' features social inclusion and racial diversity in its story, which reflects our reality. The historic mixture of the Indigenous people, European — Spanish — and African cultures, have transformed us, through a multicultural country that accepts and takes everyone into consideration," said Pinzón.

Pinzón, who is in his second stint as ambassador to the United States, is known for hosting themed events celebrating the U.S.-Colombia relationship.


In 2022, the two countries will celebrate the bicentennial of the establishment of permanent diplomatic relations.

"Encanto," whose cast includes Colombian American stars John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama, also features Lin-Manuel Miranda as an actor and co-writer.

The film will be released in theaters on Wednesday.