Most people would not expect a film that deals with the experience of losing a loved one to incorporate elements of humor, yet senior film major Brandon La Fleur’s latest film succeeds in just that. La Fleur embraced this unique blend of themes in his film,“Barnaby.”

“Barnaby” tells two different stories of people coping with the loss of a close family member. One perspective is that of the husband of the deceased woman, while the other comes from their son, Barnaby. La Fleur decided to take a unique approach to his film by challenging how we view and interpret grief.

La Fleur said that “we see physical aspects of people dealing with grief,” such as crying, and we react based off of this. So how would we react to those who give us nothing to see? As a result, Barnaby is seen wearing a polar bear costume during the film, which brilliantly disguises his physical expressions as he deals with his grief in his own way. La Fleur further revealed that the sub-title of the film is “The Faces We Wear in Grief,” emphasizing the humanistic quality of the film’s theme.

Despite the serious nature of the film’s content, La Fleur decided to incorporate elements of humor in order to create a unique element to his project. Prior to attending college, La Fleur had been an avid fan of dark humor in films. A favorite director of his was Bobcat Goldthwait, who is known for such movies as “God Bless America” and “World’s Greatest Dad,” the latter starring the late Robin Williams.

La Fleur did not become interested in dramas until he enrolled at URI and began to take film courses that screened many films within this genre. With his prior love of comedies, and his new exposure to dramas, La Fleur explored each of these fields prior to his senior year with original short films. The more comedic of the two projects was entitled “An Office Phone Call” and tells the story of a man who learns that his wife has been cheating on him, leading to him being fired for taking a personal call at work. His other film, entitled “Nana,” is reminiscent of his latest project, as it deals with a son who struggles with the thought of his grandmother dying.

As he is no stranger to comedies or dramas, and with experience going into his senior year, La Fleur feels the more confident about the making of “Barnaby” than he has of his previous work. When discussing the crew and actors involved, he gratefully stated how “everything came together [through] great collaborative effort.”

Currently, “Barnaby” is in post-production and La Fleur plans to edit the film over the next few weeks. URI junior Jesse Yelin will be providing an original score for the film that will ideally complement the duality of the two themes La Fleur presents us with.


The film is set to be screened on Dec. 14, at 6:00 p.m. in Swan Hall Auditorium during a free screening event of many senior film projects. After this initial screening, La Fleur plans to submit “Barnaby” to festivals and screening events. In time, the film will be viewable on Brandon La Fleur’s self titled YouTube channel.