Fri. Apr 3rd, 2020

Pixar against life in the suburbs

The animation studio sweeps the Berlin Festival with the presentation of “Onward”, his latest film proposal that reflects the acceptance of loss and initiation into adulthood

Luckily, Pixar arrived to save our day. According to Dan Scanlon, the director of «Onward», who was inspired by the early death of his father to create this fable about grief and fraternity. It is fascinating how Pixar is creating a film corpus in which the repetition of themes and obsessions – namely: the claim of memory as an Edenic territory to reconstruct identity; the restitution of the father figure as the origin of the self; and, of course, faith in the magic of imagination, in direct line with the philosophy of the classic Disney stage – does not prevent creativity from weakening.

We are in a universe of elves, ogres and magicians who have become accustomed to the logic of capitalism, enemy of potions, spells and irrational mantras. Curious about Pixar’s animosity against life in the suburbs and the corporate economy. However, beyond criticism of the society of anesthetic consumption, “Onward” is a story of initiation into adulthood that goes through the acceptance of loss and death, a little in the line of “Coco.”

The starting point is wonderful: Ian, for his sixteenth birthday, will be granted the wish – as was granted to David, the robot boy of “Artificial Intelligence” – to spend twenty-four hours with his father, who died being him very small. That desire will be fulfilled literally halfway, and with the complicity of his older brother, he must be able to complete it. It would be necessary to study if Pixar has managed to sublimate the beauty of a gesture – in this case, a hug, observed in the distance, which cannot be repeated again – thanks to his careful observation of the cinema of the Ghibli studios. What is evident is that there are plenty of talent to expressively load what in other hands would be dead meat – what they do here with a pair of legs is from another world – and that they know and demonstrate that cinema is, in essence, the art of putting memory to circulate.


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