The two most central themes in the story, it seems to me, are these. First, from a videotape clip of Ernesto when he says: “…I must follow my heart! . . . Only a song has the power to change a heart . . . When you see your moment you . . . must seize it!”
This speaks directly to the thematic core of the Hero’s Journey and J. Campbell’s take: “Follow your bliss.” Find that which energizes you, for which you have a talent, which represents your most authentic You, and do THAT. Miguel KNOWS what his True Self is from the very beginning of the story: Musician. Unfortunately, he is forced to live in Disunity as he is kept away from that which he loves by his own family. There is a Narrative Imperative at work here as Miguel’s ONLY path is to move toward Unity by embracing and being embraced as a musician.
Follow your bliss. When you see your moment, you must seize it.
The other theme which jumps out at me is the song: “Remember Me”. Here are the lyrics in English:
Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For ever if I’m far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you
The only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again
It’s a love song. It’s a song by Hector to his family from which he is separated. But metaphorically, it’s also a song describing Miguel’s state of enforced disconnect to his authentic nature as a musician. He does everything he can to “remember” his Musician Self even while he is “far away” from realizing it in any public manner. And of course, he DOES “have to travel far” in order to overcome the necessary obstacles which enable him to claim what lies at the foundation of his Unity state: music.
The song also works with the very spirit of the Day of the Dead, remembering those loved ones who have died. But I think there is also a subtextual way in which it works in relation to Miguel’s quest to move from Disunity to Unity and become what lies at the core of his very being: A musician.