My Grandma Matilde
Miguel Anaya Borja's latest short film, My Grandma Matilde, is a thought-provoking and heartfelt animated story that grows its roots in our hearts and minds, promising to leave an everlasting impression.
My Grandma Matilde tells the story of little Maria, who’s been left in her grandmother’s care. Her grandmother, Matilde, tries to teach her niece many invaluable things and chores that will make her life easier, such as fishing, basket weaving, cooking, cleaning. However, as the most innocent and imaginative child, Maria sees different things in the chores that give her grandmother troubles. Maria feeds the peculiar stork with the fish that her grandmother caught; she makes all sorts of forms out of the dough, basically everything opposite Matilde. Thus, an unprecedented moment changes everything for them, provoking the grandmother's glimpse into her childhood memories.
My Grandma Matilde defines a broader array of meanings and purposes that immerse the curious audience. Essentially, it can be described as a coming of age tale, as Maria’s daydreaming and child plays are constantly interrupted by something that’s perhaps ‘bigger’ and ‘serious’. Matilde does not understand her niece, but she doesn’t even try. Yet, she was also a child a long time ago, and Borja shows how a buried memory triggered by something (an object, a particular scent or activity – Maria drawing on the wall) can work as a time-travelling device that erases the generational gap and shows the grandmother that her niece is a representation of the young girl she once was.
Borja plays with contrasts, as they increase the stakes for conflict and are juxtaposed perfectly in the composition of the story and visual grammar likewise. Also, the distinctions are seen in the usage of flashbacks and dreams devices, which are an integral part of the storytelling.
There are several short flashbacks that dive into Matilde’s backstory. Once again, Miguel Anaya Borja shows that they can overcome every obstacle regarding the short format by coming up with creative ways to implement a backstory without any help of the dialogue (the film is dialogue-less, which makes the visual language most sophisticated). Moreover, it’s essential to analyze the protagonist's dream in-depth. Maria is happy and carefree, existing in unison with nature and the grandeur universe until her grandmother interferes in her path.
My Grandma Matilde is rich with symbolism; the auteur’s attention to detail is impressive. And, that’s thanks to the animation craft brought to perfection. Combining several approaches around the stop-motion technique, the animation is fascinating. The texture that feels tangible over the screen, the costume designs and sets building, the vastness of the exteriors opposed to the paint-coated house from all angles, the vibrant colours and smooth transitions provide not only the most unforgettable experience but showcase how amazing Miguel Anaya Borja is alongside their team of creative authors that helped in the various processes of production.
In conclusion, My Grandma Matilde undoubtedly deserves the Best Animation award at our festival's 8th Edition and also deserves all the attention and praise it receives. We strongly believe that it will have the most fruitful festival life and pass the test of time, as any great art does.