Staff Review/ Arrugas

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Kevin Danson reviews Arrugas

I do enjoy a good animation film like Shrek and Nemo, but I also miss the old-school versions such as Tintin or Inspector Gadget. Ignacio Ferreras’ soft animation Arrugas surprised me with being a change from today’s cartoons, allowing the soft, old form to match the content of his film, Wrinkles.

Demonstrating the subliminal approaches of Alzheimer’s, Emilio – a widower who has become too much of a burden for his son – finds himself being transferred to a nursing home. Feeling how his life may be coming to an end, the new friendship with his roommate Miguel opens up a door to a new beginning.

We always expect old people to act a certain way but like the saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. These ‘old codgers’ are spontaneous and allow us to witness their unconventional shenanigans. Moreover, they huddle themselves into protecting their new friend Emilio from the Alzheimer’s floor above, or the ward of ‘lost causes’.

The film Waking Life comes to mind when I think about the characters in this animation. Their personalities are not purely fictional, leading you to believe that they could just be real-life actors under the colourful sketches of the cartoon. The film has fun with some of the characters like the well-developed female gym instructor (never an empty class) and Rosario, the faded belle femme who spends her time travelling on the Orient Express, elegantly smoking from an imaginary cigarette holder.

Humour slips in when serious subjects are touched upon like desertion, senility and Alzheimer’s. I found this break welcoming. The child-like bromance between Emilio and Miguel makes the issues highlighted about nursing homes light-hearted yet thought provoking. Is it simply the case of; out of sight, out of mind? Will we only consider these questions once we reach the stage of mental deterioration?

The beautiful soundtrack had me in a trance during some scenes that were reminiscent of the artist Paul Digby, who exhibited his work at Cornerhouse a few months back. I skipped between appreciating elderly pride, what happens to memories and dreams as the people you have known all your life eventually disappear and how the fear of forgetfulness can eradicate the hopes of life.

The content definitely ticked all my boxes and the type of animation too. It has galvanised my awareness to those outside of my surrounding generation and also let me have a good film I can recommend to my friends and you.

Arrugas screens on Sat 3 March and Wed 7 March. Book your tickets here.