MEXICO CITY, June 16, 2006 — Hollywood funny man Jack Black’s new movie, Nacho Libre, which portrays the wild world of Mexican wrestling, was shot on location in Mexico’s Pacific coastal state of Oaxaca. As audiences enjoy the comedic adventures of Nacho, the main character, they will also learn about Mexican popular culture and take in the breathtaking views of Oaxaca.
Nacho Libre’s storyline revolves around lucha libre, as Mexican wrestling is called. Black plays a monastery cook who, seeking to provide better-quality food for the children in the monastery-run orphanage, defies rules and becomes a luchador, or wrestler.
In Mexico, lucha libre is a community event that transcends generations. Old women, children and strong men unite to cheer on their favorite luchador, whose identity is always hidden by a mask and character-driven costume. The luchadors are divided into two camps: the tecnicos (good guys) and rudos (bad guys), adding drama and moral lessons to the acrobatic flips that entertain the loyal followers.
On the scene in Oaxaca
Movie goers love Jack Black, and Jack Black loves Oaxaca. “Oaxaca is gorgeous. It has ancient pyramids, amazing architecture, and a rich flavor that adds to the whole experience. I don’t think there’s ever been a comedy with as many beautiful backdrops before as we have in this film,” Black is quoted as saying.
It’s no wonder that Oaxaca struck such a chord with the film’s star. The state’s diverse landscape and beautiful beaches, colonial charm and strong indigenous culture have made it Mexico’s next hot spot. Oaxaca even won Travel + Leisure’s 2005 World’s Best Awards as the best travel destination city in Latin America
Oaxaca (pronounced “Wah-HA-Ca”) scenery ranges from the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre del Sur to lush central valleys. Among its most famous beach destinations are the cities of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, whose jade-green waters provide a haven for both surfers and lovers of secluded beaches.
Oaxaca City is the state’s capital and is one of the largest cities in Mexico’s southern region. Its colonial charm has remained intact and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Among the many handicrafts found in Oaxaca, the black clay pottery (“barro negro”) is one of the most popular, representing a tradition that dates back to prehispanic times and spans generations. Another popular handicraft in Oaxaca is the colorful “alebrije,” creatively hand-carved or paper mache figures, usually depicting monsters and hand-painted.
The regional cuisine is also an important aspect of Oaxacan life, as the state is famous for its mole (a sauce made containing over 20 different spices) and the native types of chiles.
Learn lucha libre from the pros!
If, after watching Nacho Libre, your mind goes back to the masks, tights and back flips rather than the Oaxacan scenery, why not incorporate a lucha libre lesson into your next vacation to Mexico?
The art of wrestling is continuously taught at the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (Council of World Wrestling) in Mexico City by experienced wrestlers. For approximately US$30 per month, you can learn from the best, develop your own character, and experience Mexican popular culture like few others have. For more information, call 011-5255-5588-1569 or visit http://www.cmll.com/.
About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico’s tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.