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Robot dreams: proof that animation is not only for kids

Following its world premiere in May 2023 at the Festival of Cannes, then showings at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June, the New Zealand International Film Festival in July, the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival in August and the 48th Toronto International Film Festival in September, RobotDreams has been released at the beginning of December 2023 in Spain first, most likely as it is the film’s director Pablo Berger’s country of origin, and at the end of the month it expanded to the French market.

It was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the last week of March and it's coming out on April 4th in Italian theatres, while in North America it is set to release at the end of May.

The filmmaker had never managed to create an entire universe starting from scratch before and especially using the animation formula, but the real surprise of the film, in reality, is that it is also silent (reminiscent of another project from the director, Blancanieves).

This adaptation of Sara Varon's comic is set in a modern and realistic 80s NY city, whose inhabitants however, are real anthropomorphic animals. The protagonist on whom the story focuses is a dog, alone and with a monotonous life, deciding to make a change and buy a companion for his future adventures: Robot.

Unfortunately Robot will get trapped on a beach, unable to move for a long time, while Dog struggles to get back to save him. During this wait, Robot dreams about what life might have in store for him and Dog.

It is a true gem of unexpected depth and the director Berger himself described this intention:

"To write with images is so powerful, it creates a film more as a sensorial experience. I think it should touch your heart more than your brain." 

The director and the artists behind this film started with the intention of making a comic book and turning it into images.

They wanted flat colors and a very detailed background, very little camera movement and everything had to be in focus. This also explains the use of split screen: the various frames could very well be comic panels.

This story can definitely be a film for all ages, despite the strong and profound themes that are presented, kids can understand the pain, they can probably handle the heartbreak more than what adults could believe.

It's a smart and shattering look at the tragic-comic adult life, dealing with urban isolation and loneliness.

Many fans and especially letterboxd users have compared this story to another film nominated for an Oscar this same year: Past Lives. They have been compared particularly for the plot and the sad story of how an important friendship can be lost. It's all about "what if", missed opportunities, regret and imagining what would have happened if something had gone differently or if maybe in other life everything went well.

A theme i’m sure we’re all familiar with.


Written by Olga Raimondo


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