Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
It’s been months since we heard anything about Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side), the stop-motion animated short film that Spike Jonze co-directed with Simon Cahn, based in part on the work of fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan.
The short features cut-felt characters animated as if they’ve come alive from the covers of books on a shelf; the setting is the famed Shakespeareand Company bookshop that sits on the south side of the river Seine in Paris, right by Notre Dame. The short is a gorgeous little piece of work; it is pretty and sad and completely absurd. You can see it in full after the break. (Note that it is also vaguely NSFW due to some, uh, skeleton sex.)
Jonze says of the short,
I met Olympia in Paris through friends of mine. She was just starting to make the bags for her friends. She had a bunch of the scraps in her bag, all of the cut-out pieces of felt. I just loved it… We joked about making a film and just went for it. It was this thing with no schedule, no pressure and no real reason to be—other than just that we thought it would be fun.
For this one the feeling definitely started with the handmade aesthetic and charm of Olympia’s work. Instantly I had the idea of doing it in a bookstore after-hours, imagining the lights coming down and these guys off their books. Me and Olympia both wanted to make a love story, and it was fun to do it with these characters. It evolved naturally and it all just started with the feeling. From there you entertain yourself with ideas that excite you.