Review: My Friend Who Shines In the Night (2020)

Courtesy of NIFFF

Having friends is important because it makes life less lonely. But can the same be told about death? A group of authors from Gobelins l’ecole de l’image ask the same question in their sweet animated short fantasy My Friend Who Shines at Night. The film was released on internet last year and it was also screened at the biggest animation festival at Annecy. Its screening at NIFFF (International Shorts Competition) serves as its international premiere.

It is a full moon night in a small town and the ghost rise from the graves on their way to the sky to the sounds of atmospheric strings music with a synthetized chorus in the background. Suddenly, the weather changes and the thunder and lightning ensue. One of the ghosts is struck down to the ground. A local electrician named Arthur finds it and takes it into his home.

This would be just a story of friendship along the lines of ET and Casper the Friendly Ghost, if our ghost did not have some serious troubles. It forgot everything about itself, who it was, where was it heading and for what purpose. Arthur offers his help and enlists the help of a doctor and a psychiatrist, so their friendship becomes a slightly absurdist, but still heart-warming adventure.

Probably the only weak point of My Friend Who Shines at Night is the fact that it is obvious that it was a group effort at some kind of school task. While the story still feels fresh despite touching the familiar ground almost all the time, the techniques and tools involved in its realization never step out of the zone of the newest tools, computer programs and techniques thought at universities. Those tricks are enough to make it a bit better than just a decent (student) work, but, unfortunately, it also feels a bit generic and shy to explore the uncharted territories of film as an art.

Courtesy of UniFRance

Original title: Mon ami qui brille dans la nuit
Year: 2020
Runtime: 8’ 40’’
Country: France
Language: French
Directed by: Grégoire de Bernouis, Jawed Boudaoud, Simon Cadilhac, Hélène Ledevin
Voice cast: Edouard Michelon, Maiko Vuillod, Fred Nagorny, Nadège Feyrit
Music by: Arthur Dairiane Andrianaivo
Sound design by: Nadège Feyrit
Colourist: David Chantosieau
Production company: Gobelins, l’ecole de l’image
Supported by: TV Paint, RECA