If you’ve ever dealt with obsessive or intrusive thoughts and the anxieties that come from them, the award-winning short “Rueben Leaves” may be familiar. Created by Frederic Siegel, it’s the story of a man who tries to leave his house to attend a meeting at the office, but is plagued by thoughts of catastrophe every step of the way.
In an interview with Vimeo, Siegel explains that “Rueben Leaves” isn’t about obsessive-compulsive disorder — or at least it wasn’t originally intended to be. He also reveals that the inspiration for the film is his own experience with obsessive thoughts.
Vimeo: What was the inspiration for “Ruben Leaves”? How do you relate to Ruben?
Frederic Siegel: The film is actually based on my own bad habits of checking things and being anxious about having my front door locked or having the windows closed etc. I also have to regularly walk back to my flat to check if the door is really locked. So basically, Ruben is inspired by myself and some of my family members, who also have similar obsessive-compulsive habits.
Siegel suggests that his own anxieties don’t meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis, but Reuben Leaves is no less fascinating and visually interesting for that. If you’ve ever felt consumed by unwelcome thoughts for any reason, you might just find it relatable, too.