“Le Gouffre“, a 2014 short film by Carl Beauchemin, Thomas Chretien and David Forest, is a story about the power of will, the strength of friendship and the combined endurance of community. Two friends, adventurers on an unknown journey, come upon a deep chasm that obstructs their ongoing path. Together, they must find a way to bridge the gap to get across.
Rendered in a unique animation style reminiscent of machinima and hand-drawn graphics, the film is a beautiful work which boasts great contrasts; there is vibrancy in its colours and depth of setting, and a capricious turn of weather allows the film to embrace and explore a dichotomy of light and shadow. A buoyant camera ensures active viewer engagement, capturing the gist of emotions through well-timed close-ups and reactive, compensatory movements.
Beyond aesthetics, a most significant aspect of “Le Gouffre” is its message of solidarity, which is well served by its straightforward yet elegant story. Challenged by nature and the limitations of humankind’s influence on natural elements, the film suggests, almost to an axiomatic fault, that we cannot accomplish great feats without the aid of others.
In that sense, the film is a visual illustration of collaboration: the bridge which the characters build, the bond that we forge with others in our quest to a goal; the village next to the chasm, our societal backbone which does not intrude, but is nevertheless ever-present; and ultimately, the fall, when we come short of our ambitions, that still holds out inspiration to others that there is value in trying.