ANINA was submitted for the Oscars, for the Best Foreign Language Film category from Uruguay. It was not successful in getting a nomination unfortunately, but it is more than deserving of that honour. This is a beautiful film, with fantastic animation and a great story. It is honestly always a pleasure to see animation that comes from all over the globe and not just ones from Disney or Dreamworks. ANINA exists in its own world, a simple story, that we can all relate to.
Anina of the title gets picked on at school because of her name, Anina is a palindrome (capicúa). Her two last names (of her parents) are also palindromes, she’s a triple palindrome. This is a source of much frustration for her, especially with the teasing at school. Not only that but she has a crush on a boy at school Yonatan, who seems not to notice her. She also gets into a school fight with classmate Yisel, after calling her a name ‘elephant’. Anina and Yisel are sent the strangest punishment by the principle and the film follows Anina as she spends this week.
This really is a sweet film, because it is honest, school isn’t great usually, and most of us have to deal with getting picked on. I can relate to my name being a source of teasing, I could see myself in Anina. She handles things differently, and over time comes to appreciate her name and the palindrome factor. Then there is Anina and her relationship with Yisel, they start off as enemies, but slowly Anina starts to notice Yisel is going through something very serious. While Anina doesn’t entirely think about Yisel at first she slowly starts to stop thinking about just herself.
The animation here is just lovely, it’s simplistic yet sophisticated, it’s not crazy and it feels very crisp. I really like how we get voice overs from Anina, they are cute and we get to know her a lot better. The character development for her is really well done, she learns her lessons, about family and friendships and even about life. This is conveyed with a light touch, it’s funny and smart, and there is never a dull moment. Anina goes off into a fantasy land at times, the animation does have a different feel when she does, and I liked that insight into her inner feelings.
ANINA gets its points across, and they can be appreciated. Anina learns about seeing life through someone else’s eyes, and see what they are going through. This already feels like a classic film, full of heart and passion and one that should be well remembered for years to come. Age doesn’t matter with this film, it is one for the family, be sure to catch it.