From out of nowhere, the most beautiful girl in the world sits at the table across from me at the library. Is this a stroke of good luck or bad? Her smile paralyzes me…
How could a girl so perfect be interested in an ordinary guy like me? I’m probably too short, too thin, too wimpy. Not preppy enough. Too sensitive or too much of a hipster. I can’t talk to her because I don’t know her, but I can’t get to know her because I won’t talk to her…
How will Sam win Nadine’s heart? Must he seek out his inner samurai to fight the monster of his anxiety? Real courage is conquering your fear.
NADINE, the first collaboration between filmmaker Patrick Péris and the National Film Board of Canada, is an ambitious work that blends live action footage with various animation techniques. In this whimsical, suspenseful, and humorous short, Péris takes us on a playful voyage into the parallel universe inside his main character as he learns about himself and others. With rare insight, the film illustrates the turmoil of love at first sight in the digital age.
From out of nowhere, the most beautiful girl in the world sits at the table across from me at the library. Is this a stroke of good luck or bad? Her smile paralyzes me. I can’t talk to her because I don’t know her, but I can’t get to know her because I won’t talk to her…
NADINE, the first collaboration between filmmaker Patrick Péris and the National Film Board of Canada, is an ambitious work that blends live action footage with various animation techniques.
Filmmaker Patrick Péris is waiting for me in his office in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood to talk about his latest work, NADINE, an engaging, high-energy animated short produced in the NFB’s studios. He welcomes me with a smile and a cup of coffee, and we sit down to chat in the huge, light-filled space he shares with a few artist colleagues.
What was the genesis of your film NADINE?
The story came to me in a flash of inspiration I had about le coup de foudre [ed. note: literally, “bolt of lightning”; idiomatically, “love at first sight”]. I wanted to explore the power and the universality of that moment. Everyone deserves to experience this cocktail of emotions, so dazzling and intense, at least once in their life. Fear, shyness, courage, and self-confidence are the central themes of my film, and were the starting point for my creative thought process as well.
The film is fairly short, just like a bolt of lightning. Ephemeral. In a situation where every second counts, when the stress and fear of making a poor first impression become an obsession, your imagination can easily run riot.
I also see NADINE as a kind of legacy—for my two young children, particularly, but also to anyone who sees the film. In my role as a dad, I nurture my kids’ self-confidence through positive reinforcement, with every little victory. It’s the greatest gift I can give them. In life, we define ourselves through the obstacles and adventures that happen along our journey. The daily challenges we face are what transform us and help us grow. That comes through in my film, through Sam’s brave quest.
You used several animation techniques for the film. What were your intentions?
In my work as a filmmaker, I was already used to combining different techniques to tell my stories. At first I thought of making NADINE a fully animated film, exploring and blending a range of techniques to arrive at a strong visual statement. The story is structured like a cerebral journey, which allowed me to illustrate all the power of that love-at-first-sight moment, and all the main character’s inner turmoil, on screen. I decided to convey Sam’s inner quest using multiple animation techniques. It was my producer, Marc Bertrand, who eventually suggested incorporating some live-action shots. That prompted me to establish a contrast between two worlds: the scenes shot with real actors would represent reality, while the animated sequences would depict the main character’s inner world: everything happening in Sam’s imagination.
Of course, there was a risk in blending multiple techniques, but I think it’s important to take that kind of risk, especially with creative projects. All the techniques I chose served to bring Sam’s various explorations to the screen. I saw how these rich, complementary processes could blend well and unify our protagonist’s various worlds.
Working in the NFB studios in Montreal is an incredible gift. It just may be the best place in the world to make animated films—and, on top of that, I had my own love-at-first-sight moment when I met Julie Roy and Marc Bertrand, the producers with the French Animation Studio.
An underlying aspect of your film is our relationship to technology and the pervasiveness of social media in our lives. Do you think human relationships have been transformed by the various types of technology?
I haven’t experienced that personally. In that respect, my childhood was very different from those of kids today. Now, every little action is scrutinized in the public eye. I imagine, for a kid, that can sometimes get pretty intense. My children haven’t reached that stage yet. That’ll happen in a few years, and some adjustment will surely be required. In the film, the monster symbolizes social rejection for the young boy. What would happen if everyone knew exactly what his feelings were? Sam is paralyzed at the prospect of being rejected, not only by one person, but by everyone around him—the entire world, even. That’s a huge stress factor that goes beyond schoolyard gossip.
Today, commenting publicly on social media has become second nature for many people. And yet, the technology aspect is something that, collectively, we’re all having to adjust to. At the moment, we’re at the stage where we’re getting used to these new tools. We’re learning to draw boundaries between the public and private spheres, and we have to hope that we will continue to put human contact first.
Tiphaine De Reyer
Translation and Voice Direction
Art Direction ‒ Puppets
Studio de création scénographique
Art Direction ‒ Sets and Props
Armature ‒ “Spider” Design
Sound Design and Music
© 2016 National Film Board of Canada (SOCAN)
Assisted by Thomas Garant
Jean Paul Vialard
Live-Action Film Team
Director of Photography
Catherine Brunelle Hubert
Technical Coordinator ‒ Animation
Julien & Florence
Claude & Micheline Péris