Arev Manoukian: Nuit Blanche

A couple years ago, it seemed everyone and their mother was shooting with a Phantom camera, capturing life’s minutiae in ultra slow-motion. While the results were often beautiful, without any genuine motivation, the practice felt empty. And so it passed.

But when slow motion cinematography has a point—ah, that’s something different, isn’t it?

I submit exhibit A, “Nuit Blance,” a short film directed by Spy Films‘ Arev Manoukian. Set in a film noir Paris, the film captures a surprisingly violent moment of connection between two strangers attracted to each other with such magnetism that neither panes of glass nor speeding vehicles can keep them apart.

The entire film is told in slow-motion, with sculptural explosions of glass and water enshrining the two would-be lovers like heavenly gossamer. The elongated seconds echo the longing each character feels for the other, and time itself seems to be an expression of their aching desires.

Making Of Nuit Blanche

“Nuit Blanche” was the Grand Prize winner of the LG Film Fest. Thanks to David Aufdembrinke for the tip!


Directed by: Arev Manoukian
Produced by: Stephanie Swedlove & Arev Manoukian
VFX by: Marc-Andre Gray
Music by: Samuel Bisson
Starring: Michael Coughlan & Megan Lindley
Cinematographer: Arev Manoukian
Casting: Jeff Marshall
Assistant Director: Andrew Cividino
Production Designer: Arev Manoukian & Marc-Andre Gray
Art Director / Costumes – Dan Levy
Camera Operator: Jay Pavao
Camera Assistant: Max Armstrong
Gaffer: Alan Poon
Editor: Arev Manoukian
Compositor / Animator: Marc-Andre Gray
Effects Supervisors: Marc-Andre Gray & Arev Manoukian
Additional Compositing: Arev Manoukian
Matte Painter: Pat Lau
Colourist: Andre Chlebak

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.


Lauren Indovina

one of the most beautiful shorts i’ve ever seen. exquisite and eerie… love it.

Stephen Kelleher

Too good, heart the music.


The “Café de Flore” is one of 2 extremely famous cafés in Paris (along with the Deux Magots) where artists and existentialists convened, and still do.
For me there is still an element of deep artifice in this film. Characters stripped of any context, no matter how beautiful the images, do not tell much of a story. The context is that of a nostalgic reference but lacks in authenticity. But perhaps this is a way of regaining a certain level of contemplation?

Justin Cone

I’m a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know about the café. I’ve updated the post. Thank you!

As for the point about the characters being stripped from their context: I agree, it’s not much of a story, just an impressionistic moment. But I think that’s the point, no?


I think that, with this kind of work, it becomes entirely a question of personal sensibility. To some it will seem highly pretentious, to others poetic and poignant. The technique still calls attention to itself and the self-reflexivity of it all is what I find most interesting.


Very classy I love the black and white cinematography.. Black and white is just so much more intimate. As an actor I jump at the chance to work silent films. Emotions are much more vivid.


would you guys agree this piece has the same effect as the video “we want war” by these new puritan?


It’s simply fantastic… The perception of time gives the viewer something magical, and with the profound images and characters, it closes on a magical story. It isn’t necessary to tell us the real (or full) story, because that’s the beauty of things: you can just imagine it. You also conceived a way of not saying anything, and saying it all… In the days we live in, we have to be forced to see things with time, and that’s what you do with this film: an opportunity to admire.


With both being beautiful, the question of which came first obviously comes up here:


oh wow, thats quiet similar, minus the color and shattering of the glass, its essentially the samething. I too would be curious to find out which one came first


The BUF one was uploaded to youtube on March 20, 2009:


Good eye guys. We were somewhat disappointed when that ad came out as it has some similarities. Nuit Blanche was actually shot a few years ago. It sat on the shelf for a long time before we finally got into post in 2009.

Thanks for all the great comments!



No need to disappoint, such coincidences happen…

Loved your short! Keep up doing incredible work!


an even better example of super slo mo done right is the opening for Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist.

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