Animation Is Slow Motion: Pablo Berger on Robot Dreams | Interviews

June 3, 2024 - Movies

Also, I like the idea that it was more like slow motion for a live-action director. Animation is slow motion. In a live-action film, you can never say, ” Oh, let me think, ” when they ask you a question, you can never say, oh, let me think. I’ll tell you tomorrow. You have to have answers right away when you’re on a set. But in animation, it said like, wow, why don’t we try this? Let me think about it—that part I love. And I didn’t have to wake up so early, so I’m sure I will make more animated films.

What was the experience like working on this film during COVID?

Well, it was really the hardest thing in making the film. We had to create two animation studios in Spain. We had to find animators all over Europe. For me, it was mandatory that even if it was COVID-19 times, I didn’t want to work with the animators remotely. It was mandatory that they came to work at the studio. So, of course, we were all wearing masks, but one of the big successes of the film was that we felt like a team, like a film crew. We were working in the same rooms. We were all going through the same issues. I could put my hand on the shoulder of animators and say, “Oh, good work. I like it.” So, definitely, we felt like we were doing something special for over two years. So it was really, really a major to go through Covid while making a film. And the film is very emotional. It’s a lot about emotion. So we had to be in the same space while making this film.

All these music cues that you play: “September,” even the river dance sequence, the score; they beautifully add rhythm to the movie. How did you ensure the specific songs and the jazzy score perfectly aligned with all the magic of the story?

The thing is, “Robot Dreams” is a musical. It’s a dialogue-free film, and the music could be the voice of the character. So the music is super important. Of course, the film’s main theme is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, which is Robot and Dog’s song. Even the theme of the film is in the lyrics. “Do you remember the 21st night of September? Do you remember?” That’s the theme of the film. And the 29th of September, as you know, comes autumn, summer, autumn, and you know how important it’s in the story. There are elements. So that was a big thing. And, of course, all the different songs that appeared were punk, rob, hip hop, bucket drumming, street musicians, Latin music, and that’s New York. New York is a jungle of music and sounds, but if we had to make an original soundtrack, it had to be jazz. And we needed this kind of melodic, strong piano melody with Alfonso de Vilallonga. The music is one of the protagonists. And, of course, you need a music editor. And my music editor, Yuko Harami, has been working with me on my four films. And Alfonso de Vilallonga is the composer of my three films. I wanted to be a musician, not a filmmaker. So, “Robot Dreams” is an homage to music itself.

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