20. Januar 2022 Johannes Wolters

Täglich einen Kurzen: „The Windshield Wiper“ by Alberto Mielgo [Leo Sanchez Studio]

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REVIEW:

„In „The Windshield Wiper“, the highly anticipated short animation from animation star Alberto Mielgo, a middle-aged man in a café serves as the framing device as he proposes a naive question that is nonetheless enormous in its implication—“what is Love?“. The following 13 minutes examine that question in evocative and open-ended scenarios ranging from the bloom of initial attraction to elderly partners separated by death. In between, there is courtship and sex, missed connections and despair. Threaded throughout is a generational critique, as Mielgo interrogates the changing definition and customs of love throughout time. Love is enormous, love is indefinable, but love is also specific and shaped by context. Mielgo attempts to situate himself and the viewer as an outside observer to its ever-changing pattern. It is the film’s stylishness that is of primary appeal to many of the director’s rabid fanbase though, which numbers over 120k followers on Instagram and which counts Barry Jenkins as a member—his production company Pastel joined the project in 2019 and was critical to helping it to completion.

An artist and commercial director of repute, Mielgo’s star has been on the rise due to his heralded film, „The Witness“, which was a standout entry in the first season of the Netflix anthology series Love Death + Robots, and his work on the acclaimed feature Into the Spiderverse. His artistic style has attracted many admirers in animation-corners and is tremendously fresh, depicting a world recognizably our own, but with a razor-sharp aesthetic sensibility. There is a naturalism to the characters, that, at first blush, is often mistaken for rotoscoping, but Mielgo protests that his approach is, in fact, very traditional. Recent articles at Cartoon Brew and AWN.com dive into closer detail on the film’s creation, and in both interviews, he equates his process with how golden-era Disney productions were made, only with a result that is both modern, and impossibly cool. It is this tension between realism and fantasy that I suspect is the appeal of his work. On the one hand, it is a fantasy of sorts, full of stylish locales worthy of a lifestyle influencer’s timeline and populated by gorgeous characters in hip styling set in dramatic compositions. And yet it is also recognizably real—in a medium defined by abstraction on the independent end, or cutesy, family-friendly gloss on the high-end, Mielgo dares to pursue a fidelity to life that is adult and unabashedly sexy. „The Windshield Wiper“, coming from a very personal place, and adapting many of Mielgo’s own experiences, is perhaps the clearest demonstration to date of his artistic voice, full of clip-worthy sequences that befit a gifted professional image-maker, but married to an impressionistic format filled with searching, messy moments of relatable emotion. Being familiar with Mielgo’s work, „The Windshield Wiper“ has been high on my „must-see“ list since its premiere last year at the Cannes Director’s Fortnight. Since then, it has qualified for Oscar and landed on the Academy’s 15-film shortlist for the Best Animation Short Subject award. Voting for the final nominees begins at the end of this month and as part of the team’s promotional push, we’re honored to have the opportunity to share „The Windshield Wiper“ with you as a limited release. Whether you’re new to Mielgo’s work or a dedicated fan, enjoy this chance to experience this passion project from one of animation’s most distinctive artists. – S/W Curator, Jason Sondhi

CREDITS: all paintings by ALBERTO MIELGO

LEO SANCHEZ STUDIO

CG SUPERVISOR LEO SANCHEZ BARBOSA

PRODUCTION COORDINATION MANUEL SANCHEZ BARBOSA LONI ALBERTSON, PAULA BLANQUÉ

CHARACTER MODELING & TECH ANIM LEO SANCHEZ BARBOSA DAVID DIAZ, LUIS GOMEZ GUZMAN, MARIANO TAZZIOLI

CHARACTER RIGGING JOAN MARTINEZ

TOOL DEVELOPMENT DAVID CORRAL

LIGHTING SUPERVISOR & LOOK DEVELOPMENT JONATAN CATAL PINKMAN.TV

HEAD OF ANIMATION MARCO REGINA

ANIMATION REMI COMTOIS, ALBERT RUBIO, HENRY SANCHEZ, DANIEL MARTIN PEIXE, KRISTIAN ANTONELLI, TYLER PHILIPS.

CLOTH SIMULATION DIEGO CONTE & OLATZ MENDI

LIGHTING & RENDER RAUL COLOMER

COMPOSITING, EDIT & SOUND DESIGN ALBERTO MIELGO

CHIMNEYS SCENE IVAN FEDOROV & GEORGE VARODI

IN ASSOCIATION WITH MANY ENTERPRISES

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