'Robot Dreams' (TIFF review)
Director Pablo Berger brings the unlikely friendship of a dog and a robot to 1980's New York in the fantastical 'Robot Dreams'.
Based on the graphic novel with the same name, this dialogue-free 2D animation brings 1980's New York to life. Filled with animals that go about their daily business, we follow Dog as he fills his lonely days playing simple 80's video games and watching TV.
Then, one day, he sees an ad for a robot. A new toy that quickly becomes his best friend as they go around the city until they one day end up on the beach.But that's where their good times end, as it turns out the robot is not made for the beach. Dog and Robot are separated and what follows is Dog trying everything he can to get the robot back, but failing. And Robot dreaming of his ultimate return to his new best pal.
If you happened to see any of Pablo Berger's earlier works, like 'Blancanieves' (2012) that played at several festivals as well, you can forget about those. Because, as the director explains, he doesn't like to repeat himself, and 'Robot Dreams' isn't anything like any of his other films.
It does definitely have the fantasy and imagination of his other works though, as Berger perfectly captures the charm, fun, but also the tragedy of the world of Dog in New York City in the 80's.
The party vibes of 'September' by 'Earth, Wind & Fire' make place for some serious and difficult choices about life and friendship. And ultimately this charming and delightful little animation makes some unexpected lasting impressions.
'Robot Dreams' had its North American premiere at #TIFF23 and will be released in Spain and France in December. Neon acquired the distribution rights for release in North America.