• Country: France
  • Initial release: November 8, 2018
  • Film Director: Juliana de Lucca ,David Feliu and Varun Nair
  • Running Time: 6 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 7.1

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the development of technology has significantly impacted our daily lives, leading to a growing dependency on it. While new technological innovations have undoubtedly improved our lifestyle, it is crucial to consider the consequences when we are deprived of these technologies. This article explores the thought-provoking animated short film titled “Best Friend,” directed by Nicholas Olivieri, Shen Yi, Juliana De Lucca, Varun Nair, and David Feliu. Through the use of captivating character designs, music, color, and lighting changes, “Best Friend” presents a futuristic portrayal of society’s reliance on technology.

The Storyline: A Futuristic Take on Dependence

“Best Friend” revolves around the life of Arthur, a lonely 30-year-old man who is heavily reliant on a new technological product called “Best Friend.” This innovative creation implants virtual friends into people’s minds, visible only to the user. The product is recharged through the use of special eye drops. The film captures Arthur’s thirtieth birthday celebration, where he joyfully interacts with his fictional friends, singing and partying. However, the constant need to recharge his technological companion with a large number of eye drops becomes an inconvenience. When Arthur accidentally destroys his remaining eye drops, he embarks on a journey outside to purchase more, but impatience leads him to follow Cami, one of his virtual friends, to an isolated vending machine. In this moment, he encounters an addict marked with scars from removed implants, who forcefully removes Arthur’s Best Friend implant. The film follows Arthur’s pursuit of the assailant, ultimately leading to a disturbing revelation and the continuation of his cycle of addiction.

Inspiration from Real-Life Experiences

The creation of “Best Friend” was inspired by Shen Yi’s personal experience of being robbed in Paris and losing his phone. This incident highlighted his dependence on technology, as he struggled to communicate without knowing the local language. The phone became his lifeline, essential for survival. The film uses Arthur’s character as an exaggerated representation of society’s reliance on technology, reflecting on the consequences of such dependence.

Unveiling the Visual World

The animation in “Best Friend” captivates viewers through its unique character designs, effectively differentiating between the real and virtual worlds within the story. Arthur, the main character, is depicted as an average human, with realistic proportions, muted colors, and simple clothing. In contrast, his virtual friends are portrayed as imaginative creatures with abstract designs. These friends feature vibrant colors and rounded elements, emphasizing their friendly nature and reinforcing the theme of eye drops. Notably, Cami, the main friend, stands out as a more human-like character, incorporating elements from both realities. Her proportions align with Arthur’s, while her design incorporates tear-shaped and circular elements, symbolizing her connection to the “Best Friend” technology. Additionally, Cami’s bright color scheme enhances her allure, making her appear too perfect to be real. Through the use of 2D animation, the film successfully establishes a world where Arthur’s friends exist solely in the virtual realm, highlighting the allure and influence of technology on his dependency.

The Contrast of Realities: Color and Lighting

The distinction between the virtual and physical realities is not only evident in the character designs but also in the use of color and lighting changes throughout the film. When Arthur needs to recharge his “Best Friend” with eye drops, he pauses all of his friends, and the room darkens as if all the lights have been turned off. With a snap of his fingers, the friends resume their celebration, and the lights appear to turn back on. This color change not only signifies the difference between the two realities but also depicts the level of control Arthur has over his virtual world. Similarly, the film showcases scenes where Arthur dances and sings with his friends, juxtaposed with scenes of him singing alone by the window. The shift in lighting and background from bright city lights to dim and dreary alleyways when Arthur follows Cami adds to the stark contrast between the realities. The film cleverly utilizes lighting to portray Arthur’s actual world as cold, dull, and filled with fear, while his virtual realm is depicted as warm, inviting, and friendly.

The Power of Sound: Enhancing the Mood

The soundtrack of “Best Friend,” composed by Arthur Dairaine Andrianaivo, plays a crucial role in setting the mood of each scene. Soft, gentle music accompanies Arthur’s interactions with his friends, but when he pauses them, the music abruptly stops, leaving an eerie silence with faint beeps of the low battery warning. This juxtaposition of silence and cheerful music occurs multiple times throughout the film, creating an unsettling atmosphere when Arthur snaps back to reality. The lyrics of the main song, such as “best friend, we’ll never let you down,” and “when hope is lost, we will be there for you till the end,” foreshadow the events that unfold. Despite their visual presence, these virtual friends offer no assistance when Arthur is attacked. They remain mere virtual beings, observing silently as he is knocked down and his implant forcibly removed. This disturbing scene is accompanied by unnerving music, a crescendo of siren-like sounds, leading to complete silence and a black screen. The sound design effectively conveys Arthur’s emotions throughout the film while emphasizing the contrasting realities. The cheerful music serves to idealize the virtual world, highlighting its appeal and showcasing the extent of Arthur’s addiction.

A Cautionary Tale: Reflections on Society’s Obsession

“Best Friend” serves as a speculative fiction and fantasy animated short film that effectively illustrates the dangers of addiction to technology. Its storyline remains relevant in today’s world, where technology and social media use have become increasingly prevalent. While new products and platforms promise to enhance our lives and alleviate loneliness, there is an ironic disconnect that arises from relying on them. “Best Friend” presents a fictional future where society falls victim to a cycle of addiction, highlighting the perils of our own obsessions with technology and social media.

1 Film Review

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  • “Best Friend” offers a cautionary tale, urging us to reflect on the impact of our dependence on technology. Through its thought-provoking storyline, captivating visuals, and immersive sound design, the film provides a stark reminder of the potential consequences of our addiction to virtual connections. As technology continues to shape our lives, it is essential to find a balance and maintain genuine human connections in an increasingly digital world.