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All Truffaut Fans Should Watch This French Animated Short About DAY FOR NIGHT

All Truffaut Fans Should Watch This French Animated Short About DAY FOR NIGHT

La nuit américaine d’Angélique, or Angelique’s Day for Night, is, on one level, a story about a young girl’s experience of watching Francois Truffaut’s Day For Night at a young age and fantasizing about being, like Nathalie Baye in the film, a script supervisor. As a child, she romanticized the job, imagining, for instance, how wonderful it would be to place “messages,” or revised script pages, under hotel guests’ doors. As she grows up, of course, she realizes that the job is too secondary and would not be nearly as exciting as it might have seemed to her as a child. Adult reflection reveals other things to Angelique that she was not conscious of as a child–most significantly that the act of seeing, when watching a film, is often more important than what you’re seeing. You might watch, as in Day for Night, implied sex on a screen, but the way the sex is represented is more important. Angelique also has significant revelations about the changing nature of her relationship with her father, with whom she saw the movie for the first time, during a period when he was divorcing her mother. As if to highlight the elegance of this small, bittersweet tale, directors Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet and Joris Clerté present it in a simple, cut-out style–in some of the passages that instruct about the nature of film-watching, the short even resembles a puppet show, with heads and other symbols held at the ends of long sticks. Based on a graphic novel by Olivia Rosenthal, this feature, in just over six minutes, manages to impart some hard messages about growing up, albeit ameliorated by snowfall, present from the beginning of the story to the end.

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