Friendship in old age
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
11/01/2012 - A few years ago, cartoonist Paco Roca saw how the advertising agency for which he worked rejected a drawing because there were some old people in it. They were “not very aesthetically pleasing”. The idea thus emerged for a graphic novel in which the main characters would be well into old age, from the first to the last. The result, Wrinkles [trailer, film focus], won the National Comic Award in 2008. Film director Ignacio Ferreras then decided to do a big-screen adaptation which was unveiled at San Sebastian, then presented at the Gijón Film Festival, before becoming the first animated film in the history of the Goyas to get a nomination (and win) for Best Adapted Screenplay (the title also won in the Best Animated Film category) and being selected among the 18 finalists for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
The story opens when retired bank manager Emilio is sent by his son to an old people’s home. There he will get to know the pragmatic Miguel, with whom he develops a sincere yet turbulent friendship, and many other old people, whose families only come to visit them at Christmas.
When Emilio experiences the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Miguel helps him to hide them so they don’t send him to the dreaded floor for “the assisted”. Throughout this adventure, they will have to face up to the inexorable passage of time.
Made on a very limited €2m budget, Wrinkles uses splendid traditional 2D animation to tell a social drama involving loneliness and the abandonment of old people, although it is peppered with touches of humour (the scene of the gymnastics lesson in the old people’s home is priceless).
“It’s time to stop talking about animated filmmaking as if it were a genre. It’s a medium”, insisted the film’s producer, Manuel Cristóbal (Perro Verde), who goes against the cliché that animation is for children with a complex story rich in nuances, capable of making viewers laugh and cry without trying, with the simplicity of a well-told and beautifully directed story.