Ruben Brandt, Collector
by director/co-writer Milorad Krstić
I didn’t want to make a typical, funny cartoon for children. My intention was exactly the opposite: to come up with a feature, an action-filled psycho-adventure for teenagers and adults—but in an animated form.
Even more, I wanted to make an animated feature for adults who do not believe in animation for adults. I wanted to show them that animation can be as dramatic as the best action thriller, and to overcome the prejudice that it is just for kids.
Of course, the story had to be astonishing, the graphics peculiar and unseen, and the characters unclichéd. I wanted to make a unique animated feature, never seen before, and I think I succeeded!
The film has two layers. The first is a story about Ruben Brandt, a man who gets the most important museums and galleries around the world robbed, so he can possess a very specific list of paintings. As the story evolves it becomes clear that he does not steal them because of their monetary value. It is only by owning those paintings that he can get rid of the terrible nightmares and hallucinations in which he is haunted by their characters.
Here we have plenty of action: a group of top-notch gangsters traveling the world and emptying the most important art galleries: Guggenheim, Uffizi, Louvre, Hermitage, MOMA. At the same time, they are chased by competing underworld characters who are after the hefty rewards offered by insurance companies. And in the center of it is Ruben Brandt, a sophisticated and vulnerable man trying to solve his horrible psychiatric problems that go all the way back to a Cold-War era mental manipulation spy experiment....
The second layer is my homage to the most notable paintings and films of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
I believe that those viewers who cannot recognise at first sight the remake of around a hundred visual quotes and a hundred or so references to the key works in the history of movies, still can enjoy the crime story. Then, they can watch the movie again to discover its second layer too.
I personally believe this film will be a cult animated title in the years to come.