By Sofia Jesus
Do this, do that. Find stability, keep stability. Follow. Join or else. Be like. Likewise. Like less. Keep it all in. Keep it all out. Don’t think. Do thank. Sighs… Have we all lost our minds?
Alike (2015), written and directed by Spain’s Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez, is a short animation film about the importance of nurturing creativity. With two main characters — that appear to be father and son — and without any dialogues, the film speaks to us through music and colours.
There’s a man playing violin everyday under a tree, in the middle of a city’s busy street — he and the tree are colourful against the pale background of urban routine. The kid, on his way to school, wants to stop there everyday to watch the man play, as eagerly and joyfully as he wants to draw what he feels like in school. But everyday his father makes him hurry for school; and everyday his teacher rejects his drawings as he should be writing the alphabet instead.
Everyday the father turns gradually grey sitting at his desk at work; and everyday the man turns back to a happy blue when he picks up his child from school and they hug each other.
But the kid who used to look joyful at his desk in school, eventually starts to feel sad, disappointed, frustrated perhaps, as his creative impulses keep being restrained — be alike, be alike, be alike; and the father feels it when he hugs him, that happy blue becoming more and more difficult to return.
The father decides to act. Even if he is looked at as crazy by people on the street. It doesn’t matter. It is the happy gaze from his son he is looking for. And — spoil here — he gets it. Because it really is as simple as that to find happiness.
[Have you noticed how only one letter separates Alike from Alive?]
We are more than what keeps us busy all day, a friend of mine used to say. It is a pity we tend to forget it. Moreover, it is a pity we seldom have the courage to change what keeps us busy all day — carpe diem, take a walk on the wild side, you only live once may be cliches, I know, but they exist for a reason.
For reasons of mine, today, more than in any other day, this matters. I hope it matters to you too. But more than that: I hope you do something about it. As I have. And somehow always will. Against the tide. With a little help from my friends.
Directors: Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez