"In a busy life, Copi is a father who tries to teach the right way to his son, Paste. But... what is the correct path?"
Alike is a short film directed by Spanish artists Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez about creativity and education. It develops further some of the themes that can be found in Martínez Lara’s previous short Changes, including work, routine and alienation, and incorporates them into the experience of a child, and that of a father and son relationship, where the father tries to teach the right path to his son. Five main characters are used (two unidentified, embodying “the system”), complemented by a crowd of undifferentiated characters.
Situated in a city, the short places an emphasis on staging, introducing playful non-realistic elements and technologically outdated props, while choosing a minimalism reminiscent of theater. A stylized aesthetic is employed, in line with the short Changes, which also featured the character “Copi”, whose previous incarnation was crafted in plasticine by Martínez Lara. Desaturated colors are used to portray the changes in the characters, as well as the alienation of the city, which contrasts with the saturated colors used for the green, small park where the violin player is located and the kid’s drawings, which symbolize creativity.
Many close-ups and medium shots are used to capture the facial expressions and body postures, through which much of the conflict is transmitted, as well as the connection between the father and son characters. Wider shots help describe the city and situations of routine and repetition. Visual rhythm is handled mostly through editing and motion within the frame. Some camera moves are used, including a few dolly-ins that describe emotional displacement.
Highlights of the short include its creative staging, the use of narrative devices such as split screen and choreography to describe the routine and characters’ related struggles, its highly expressive animation and stylized aesthetic. The subjects presented in Alike are ones that will resonate with a wide audience.
Produced by Daniel Martínez Lara and La Fiesta P.C. with the support of Pepe-School-Land, the short is the result of the collaboration between various Spanish artists, with the participation of Pepe-School-Land alumni and artists from other well known studios: co-director Rafael Méndez worked previously at Big Lazy Robot, and Juan José Palomo, who directed the film iDiots and is the head of that studio, shows up in the credits, together with Enrique Gato (Tadeo Jones), among others.