Review of 'Ruben Brandt, Collector (Ruben Brandt, a gyujto)'

ruben_brandt_collector.jpg A stunning piece of animation from director Milorad Krstic that blurs the line between the world of fine (mostly modern) art and animation.

Milorad Krstic (voiced by Iván Kamarás) is a therapist who believes his patients can control their compulsions by “capturing” them in the creation of art. He himself is plagued by nightmares where famous pieces of art attack him in persistent, violent ways every night. Determined to put these demons to rest he enlists the help of his criminal patients, led by former stunt woman Mimi (voiced by Gabriella Hámori), in stealing the famous pieces of art that haunt his dreams: Frédéric Bazille - Portrait of Renoir (1867), Sandro Botticelli - The Birth of Venus (c. 1486), Hans Holbein the Younger - Portrait of Antoine, Prince of Lorraine (c.1543), Frank Duveneck - Whistling Boy (1872), Paul Gauguin - Woman Holding A Fruit (1893), Vincent van Gogh - Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin (1888), Edward Hopper - Nighthawks (1942), René Magritte - The Treachery of Images (1929), Édouard Manet - Olympia (1863), Pablo Picasso - Woman with book (1932), Tiziano Vecellio - Venus of Urbino (1538), Diego Velázquez - Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (1659), and finally, Andy Warhol - Elvis l, ll (1964). As their fantastic crime spree continues Krstic is known in the world's media as “The Collector” and is pursued by detective Mike Kowalski (voiced in English version of the film by Csaba Márton).

This is a very confusing yet utterly enthralling film whose every frame is crammed with unusual images. Even the portrayal of the famous works listed above (courtesy of IMDB) is quite abstract with everything having a clean, distorted view of the world. For example, the eyes of the people more often that not number more than 2 and are also often places off to the side of the face, or elsewhere. It is a quite disturbing yet oddly interesting. The story is difficult to follow with the digressions into memory and dreams often looking a lot like the real world of the plot. The characters are quirky though quite single dimensional and not exactly inspiring empathy. But, we have to put that aside as here it is all about the art and the visual…which is, frankly, stunning.

I do have to admit I did find this a bit hard going and tiresome after a while but then I got into it thinking of it as more of an art exhibit than a film. This is an amazing looking art-house film that will leave most of us puzzled and confused…but try to leave that aside and just take in the beauty of it all.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-08-21

Directed by: Milorad Krstic

Studio: Ruben Brandt

Year: 2018

Length: 96 minutes

Genre: Animation