Changes

"A non-conformist rebels against routine and its rules."

Editing & Continuity

At an average shot length of 2.9 seconds, editing is quite fast and in line with current filmmaking averages. Mostly cuts are used and just one fade. Editing is used for building continuity, creating visual rhythm, amplifying repetition by putting together shots of fragmented views of repetitive actions, associating the conflict of Copi to what happens around him (by alternating between the close-ups of his face and the fragmented shots of other characters), and also for accelerating the pace and intensifying the conflict leading to Copi’s reaction.

Time flows continuously, with only one small jump forward signaled by the fade.

Mise-en-Scène

Sparse, stylized staging is used to present a contemporary urban situation. Martínez Lara chose a minimalist staging, in his own words, to “focus on the story and characters, which is what [he’s] really interested in”. Special attention has been dedicated to animation and to Copi’s facial expressions, which are essential for transmitting the character’s conflict and the emotions he later goes through.

The crowd has various interesting functions in the film: it performs a looping choreography that helps transmit repetition through its patterned behavior (setting up the initial context against which the main character can rebel), it acts as an audience and amplifier of the event, as an external social conscience that judges and reacts to the main character’s behavior, and as a final re-signifier of the main character’s actions by copying him and swallowing him into a crowd of undifferentiated characters, as the camera pulls back at the end of the short.

Image & Aesthetic

The short employs a palette with just a few colors and an emphasis on greys (in line with the subject of the short), along with stylized and highly expressive character design (in the case of the main character). In the aesthetic we find another element for transmitting repetition: all crowd characters have similar color and shape.

The iconography employs just a few objects, which are characteristic of office work, a suitcase and a tie. Color is used to emphasize them. The way the characters walk in a line is also a behavior that is usually associated with urban situations.

Socio-cultural factors

Local socio-cultural factors may be easy to trace in this case. Changes is based on a comic strip by Quino (pen name of Joaquin Salvador Lavado), a talented Argentine cartoonist with Spanish ancestors. It is no surprise that Martínez Lara got to read his books as a child, as they were well known and appreciated in Spain.

The universal appeal of the short is understandable, repetitive work and de-humanizing pre-established rules are a trademark of contemporary societies (Chaplin’s Modern Times deals with similar subjects and premiered in 1936). Quino’s humorous and cynical approach to these and other subjects of “modern” society have earned him wide acclaim, and his works have been translated to numerous languages.

Conclusion

Changes uses close-ups, a semi-subjective POV, an accelerating editing pace and an emphasis on facial expressions to transmit the increasing frustration of the main character, as well as choreography, aesthetic, camera framing and a crowd of characters to create repetition.

The subject chosen for the short is one with a wide appeal (wanting to rebel against repetitive daily work and established routines), and it is presented with successfully crafted elements of humor and surprise. Its social commentary and cynical outlook provide food for thought that places it beyond the common comedy.

 Don’t miss 

Interview – Daniel Martínez Lara on the making of Changes



 Link 

Daniel Martínez Lara's website


 Link 

Pepe-School-Land (Martínez Lara's animation school)


 Link 

Alike - Martínez Lara's upcoming short film


 Link 

Quino's website

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