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Wrinkles ("Arrugas")

Canadian Premiere
  • Spain
  • 2011
  • 89 mins
  • DCP
  • Spanish
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Animated Film, Goya Awards

“A complex story rich in nuances… well-told and beautifully directed” — Sergio Ríos Pérez, CINEUROPA

“Lovable but credible characters and a beautifully crafted, understated plot… thought-provoking, universally comprehensible” — Jonathan Holland, VARIETY

"It's funny, it's sweet, it's heartbreaking, it's brilliant." — Peter Bradshaw

Retired bank manager Emilio is ageing, and not so gracefully. His increasing disorientation and dependency is wearing down the nerves of his son and daughter-in-law, and of Emilio himself. A decision is reached and the old man is relocated to a retirement home. While the sense of a life closing up and shutting down weighs heavily on Emilio, he strikes up what will be a firm if frequently fraught friendship with his roommate, a fast-talking, charismatic Argentinean named Miguel. Alongside the strong-willed Antonia, the delusional yet debonair Mrs. Rosario, the repetitive Ramon the DJ and the other residents of the home, the duo do what they can to make the last lap of life an interesting one, to remain dignified in the face of decrepitude and to resist being reassigned to the institution’s dreaded upper floor — the place for those “beyond recovery”.

There’s more than a fair bit of best-animated-film Oscar buzz beginning to surround this very faithful cinematic adaptation of the graphic novel “Arrugas” by Spanish comic artist Paco Roca. Though the gentle tragicomedy taps into some worthy criticism of modern senior-care arrangements, it is first and foremost a careful character study of the aged — some of them defiant, some despondent, some adrift far from the shores of lucidity. WRINKLES expresses a universal theme in an elegantly spare and simple manner, infusing its minimal visual scheme and low-key narrative with an abundance of sharp wit, whimsy, honesty and poignancy. The medium of animation is excellently suited to capturing the surreal shifts as Emilio’s dementia stealthily manifests itself. Fantasy and memory mix with mischief, melancholy and the mundane minutia of managing minds and bodies that have seen better days — but haven’t seen the last of their days. Yet.

— Rupert Bottenberg

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