404: a technical error message indicating that an Internet address cannot be found. A weak link in communication, a misunderstanding located in the ether somewhere in between the human and technological worlds. Director Antoine Besse explores such themes in his short film of the same name, which is part of a hybrid music and visual performance project that also features an EP by producer roseboy666.
404 condenses the course of a weekend into 11 minutes, exploring the complex relationship between one young father and his daughter, Boo as the pair reconnect against the setting of an unnamed French banlieue near the coast. Dazed described the work as sitting “somewhere between The Florida Project and Black Mirror“, with its use of visual filters that make Boo’s eyes abnormally large, lending an air of uncanny valley dystopia.
We watch GR404, played by Théo Christine, awake after a night of partying to the arrival of his young daughter, and bear witness to moments of vulnerability and tenderness as the pair find their footing in their familial roles. All the while, Boo’s eyes mark a protective barrier for the child as she is at first apprehensive of the man whom she calls her father. If eyes are the gateways to the soul, then this contortion is something of an emotional shutdown. Boo’s eyes become symbolic of the anxieties and struggle to connect that both characters share.
After taking Boo with him to meet his friends at an abandoned theme park, a momentary fight breaks out but is quickly stopped when the would-be threat notices Boo’s eyes as she crouches over her father. GR404 defends his daughter and comforts her before going home. Now early in the morning, the pair go to the beach with Boo’s grandmother. As Boo’s mother pulls up to collect her child, she is surprised to find them laughing and playing together. Father and daughter have reconciled and found a connection between the blurred lines that distort both their realities.