Spike Jonze’s Stop-Motion Bookstore Love Story

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 19 2011 7:16 PM

Spike Jonze’s Stop-Motion Bookstore Love Story

mourir 5

Via Nowness comes the lovely short film below, which was created by Spike Jonze—director of Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are, and so on—and the handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan. Among Le-Tan’s creations are limited-edition, felt book-clutches based on the famous covers of literary classics. Le-Tan met Jonze in Paris, and he “asked for a Catcher in the Rye embroidery to put on his wall,” Nowness explains. “Le-Tan asked for a film in return.”

Together with French filmmaker Simon Cahn (who directed the short), they wrote a script that has shades of the Book of Jonah and the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The result is Mourir Auprès de Toi (French for “to die by your side”—a nod to the Smiths?). It begins in the famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris. There, at night, a skeletal Macbeth (voiced by Jonze) catches sight of a fetching Mina Harker on the cover of Dracula. On his way to join her, he loses his head to a French version of The Big Clock, trips and falls into Faulkner’s Sartoris, and there he’s swallowed by a certain literary whale. Harker, voiced by French singer Soko, goes to rescue him.

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As movie blog The Playlist points out, a sneak preview of the short first showed up last spring; the finished film just went live earlier this week. Enjoy.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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