Pablo Berger, director of ‘Snow White’, presents in Cannes his nostalgic and bittersweet ‘Robot Dreams’, adaptation of the graphic novel by Sara Varon.
‘Robot Dreams’, the new film by Pablo Berger from Bilbao, presents itself to the viewer as a waste of nostalgia. In its approach to the iconic cityscape of Manhattan, the film displays a collection of souvenirs of the eighties, from arcade videogames to telephone booths, from the fashion of break dance to the prehistory of the audiovisual that devices such as the radio cassette or the VHS format today represent (although, from today’s perspective, the most shocking thing about those remembered 80s is the calm flow of life away from mobile devices). Berger adds a patriotic touch to this memorial cocktail thanks to the appearance of a bag decorated with the priceless figure of our Naranjito mundialista. But of course, every look at the past, no matter how naive it may be, has a certain halo of melancholy incorporatedwhich in ‘Robot Dreams’ fits into the illustrated image of the skyline New York, from which emerge, imposing and suffering, the Twin Towers.
With ‘Robot Dreams’, Berger continues his work around muteness, which took an energetic form in the expressionist ‘Snow White’. Although, in his new film, the author of ‘Torremolinos 73’ appeases his tendency to excess to adapt, with care and calm, the graphic novel by Sara Varon, in which a lonely dog decides to brighten up his day-to-day by acquiring a robot from company. This premise allows us to imagine multiple films, from the drama on urban alienation (in the manner of ‘Air Doll’ by Hirokazu Koreeda, or the films of Michelangelo Antonioni) to the buddy film with eighties airs (the robot, in its naive approach to the big city, brings to mind the imaginary of Tarzan, in the absurd version of ‘The man from California’). In the end, the kind and joyful ‘Robot Dream’ is located somewhere between the two possibilities, and also incorporates that surrealist drive so characteristic of Berger’s work and that comes together here thanks to the recurring nod to the story of ‘The Magician’. of Oz’.
Conceived as a feast of white humor, with a few touches of bad temper (which come, above all, after the temporary separation? between the dog and the robot), ‘Robot Dreams’ passes slowly and fluidly. The still framing pays homage to Varon’s illustrations, though Berger indulges in some meta license, such as the “exit” of the robot from the frame-vignette, a twist that would have delighted Chuck Jones or Tex Avery. Regarding the tone, ‘Robot Dreams’ finds a place within comedy deadpanthat humor that benefits from the limited expressiveness of its protagonists. A commitment to distance that, however, ends up strongly involving the viewer thanks to the brilliant use of the theme ‘September’ from Earth, Wind and Fire, or through careful observation of each action and reaction of the characters. In fact, that could be the boldest bet of the delicate ‘Robot Dreams’, not only because pause is a secondary ingredient in Berger’s previous work, but also because calm can be perceived as an anomaly in a world, the current, vampirized by frenzy.
For lovers of cartoon-scented cinema
Address: Paul Berger Country: Spain Year: 2023 Release date: 20–10-2023 Gender: Animation Script: Sara Varon Duration: 90 minutes
Synopsis: Based on the popular graphic novel by Sara Varon. DOG is a lonely dog who lives in Manhattan. One day he decides to build himself a robot, a friend. Their friendship grows, until they become inseparable, to the rhythm of New York in the eighties. One summer night, Dog with great sorrow, is forced to abandon ROBOT on the beach. Will they meet again?
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