In a near future, a lonely man is addicted to a product called ‘’Best Friend” which offers him perfect virtual friends.
BEST FRIEND uses great animation and amazingly created setting to deliver a very powerful message in little more than five minutes, which is absolutely impressive. The authors created a dystopian world that is somehow realistic (and scary, if we consider that realism), giving the idea of a new kind of addiction with few precise elements. The main character is celebrating his birthday with his friends… Or is he? When one of the party guests starts to become “blurry”, we find out that a drop of some sort of eye drop is needed to keep the “Best Friend” system operative: they are just virtual characters. Then, the man continues partying until he accidentally smashes the box with the drop doses and goes frenetically outside to buy some more: this looks exactly like any other drug addiction, the struggle to have more, the fear of abstinence, the suffering of the longing. Things begin to fracture when he meets another addict: this one guy does not have money (the vending machines also accept Bitcoins, a detail to emphasize) and attacks him to steal not only his doses, but also his little button on his temple, the thing that makes the system work. After this terrible meeting, the protagonist, hurt, scared, alone and confused, collapses in the street. When he finally see him home again, looking at the scar left on his face, we have a glimpse of hope that he got freed by the addiction… Until we notice the button on the other side of his head.
BEST FRIEND is powerful and remarkable. It highlights the isolation that people feels, the need of having friends that become an addiction alongside with the technology. Another important detail is the fact that anyone in town seem to have the “Best Friend” system implanted. Nobody is immune by this technology that allows you to have virtual friends always with you, not to be alone when you truly are alone. This makes the story really impressive, and that dystopian future doesn’t look so far from us.
BEST FRIEND won Best Student Film at Annie Awards, Best European Short Film at Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival and was in competition in many more.
Title: BEST FRIEND
Director: Nicholas Olivieri, Shen Yi, Juliana De Lucca, Varun Nair, David Feliu
Running time: 5