Updated: Mar 4, 2019
"Ruben Brandt, Collector" is a tale about a psychotherapist, Ruben Brandt (Ivan Kamaras) who uses art to help his patients confront their extreme issues and for them to get better. But after his father's death (and after he visited his childhood home) his nightmares got triggered where famous works of art would attack him, hurt him and kill him. It had gotten to the point that he can't sleep and he physically harmed himself with sketches on his face and bite marks on his arms. One of his patient, Mimi (Gabriella Hamori) decided to recruit the other patients to help her steal the particular artworks that were causes Brandt's nightmares. This was an easy task since all of them were expert thieves who were at Brandt to become better thieves. Brandt had a saying that if you only your issues you will get better so that is what Mimi went with and it worked.
The film is an animation in the style of modern art where which character is the foreground and background is unique it the style and I am sure many art lovers could recognise some of the characters which I could not. Even the actual art work like Andy Warhol's "Elvis" and Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" were mimicked in the style of the rest of the film. The landscapes, and backgrounds were looked like other paintings where I suspect some of them may have even been oil. Train sequence that opens the film was well done and had a 3D effect on it due to the intense shading and texture of the frames. The backgrounds were breathtaking as much as the 3 eyed, two tie wearing characters (Brandt wore two ties that matched his shoes which I liked) were different. It was it the background was more based in realism while the foreground was absurdist influenced.
The animation was smooth and the pacing did not feel dragged along, it kept on attention and the characters although some of them did not speak to much like the other patients under Brandt's care but they each had their only skill that was brought to the gallery and you knew who they were in a way. The final stolen artwork went over the viewers hand as a clever knock to the idea of performance art.
Brandt's struggle is shown well where at times you were not sure if he was dreaming or not, especial at the end. There is a police offer, Mike Kowalski (Zalan Makranczi, Csaba Marton) chasing Mimi (and I thought this was a common thing due to their flirtation but he didn't even know her name or I guess not) and then Brandt. He has more of a collection to the latter which is nicely revealed with good voice acting. And the details throughout the film all add up without hitting you over the head when certain items are seen. Overall it is a fest for the eyes and the choice of music (there was a jazzy cover of Britney Spears song thrown in) was that of I would say European influence. The film was not too much of a mystery since you were kinda rooting for the thieves to not fail and Kowalski, although charming and realist, was okay but Brandt was your main focus. The mystery was why a psychotherapist would have nightmares about art while using art to heal? And the answer lied in the age-old therapist question of 'tell me about your family?' But at the end all questions were answers and all were happy in one way or another. One of the best pieces of FEST 2019 for those who love a different take on animation with a good story.