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Anina (ATOM study guide)

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    Anina (2013) is a Uruguayan–Colombian animation directed by Alfredo Soderguit. The film is the story of ten-year-old Anina Yatay Salas and how much she dislikes her palindromic name. Anina was selected as the Uruguayan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. The film is an adaptation of the picture storybook Anina Yatay Salas written by Sergio López Suárez and illustrated by Soderguit.

    'My name is Anina Yatay Salas, I'm ten years old and I'm in deep trouble.' – Anina

    Anina Yatay Salas is a ten-year-old girl who resents her own name. Each part is a palindrome, which means it reads the same both forwards and backwards. Her schoolmates are always teasing her about this, especially Anina's arch-enemy Yisel, who Anina and Anina's friends call 'elephant' behind her back. Her feud with Yisel isn't just about her name; Anina likes Yisel's friend Yonatan but Yonatan never seems to notice Anina.

    Sergio, Anina's father – the lover of all things palindromic – finds Anina's complaints funny, which only frustrates her all the more. Maria, Anina's mother, sympathises but encourages her daughter not to exaggerate the situation. To remind herself that others are more misfortune, Anina consults the list of the world's ugliest names given to her by her grandmother.

    When Anina and Yisel get into a playground skirmish, the principal chooses to discipline them in an unexpected and weird way. She gives each girl a sealed envelope, which they are not allowed to open for an entire week.

    Haunted by vivid daydreams and awful nightmares, Anina's anxiety about what horrible punishment awaits her becomes unbearable. Anina and her best friend decide to steal Yisel's envelope and discover what is inside.

    Things don't quite go to plan. As Anina follows Yisel around town and school, she discovers that Yisel's life is far from easy. Yisel's father is currently living in Australia and Yisel and her mother are struggling both financially and emotionally. Suddenly Anina's problems seem so insignificant.

    When Teacher Aurora puts Anina and Yisel in charge of the class first aid kit, the girls get to know each other, but it is not until Pablo falls from the branch of the big tree in the playground that the girls start to get along. A chance encounter in the grocery store changes everything. Anina realises that she is the 'elephant', not Yisel, and that she needs to make amends for her bad behaviour.

    At the end of the week, Anina and Yisel return to the principal's office. Yisel has done as the principal has requested but Anina must confess that somehow her envelope was opened and now the contents have disappeared. Anina cries, fearing that she has only made the situation worse. The principal consoles her and explains that there was nothing in the envelope to lose. Her intention was for the girls to use the week to think things through and let them resolve their disagreement.

    Curriculum Links
    Anina is suitable for primary students in Years 3–6 within the learning areas of English, Languages: Spanish and The Arts: Media and Visual Arts, and is relevant to the teaching of the General Capabilities of Intercultural Understanding, and Personal and Social Capability.

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