No, I did not mean to say that Spike Jonze's new short film, Mourir Auprès de Toi ("To Die By Your Side"), features "passionately felt" sex. I meant the noun "felt": the material your kindergarten teacher would use to make a storyboard teaching you to wash your hands (or the fabric you stole from your mother's craft-bin just to pull it apart because you liked to pretend you were the strongest woman alive). The stop-motion short includes 3,000 pieces of animated felt, two of which get rather frisky rather fast.
The film uses the famed Shakespeare and Company, a bookshop on Paris' Left Bank (and former Hemingway stomping ground), as its backdrop. Mourir Auprès de Toi centers around two smitten book illustrations, a skeleton and a women, who detach from their covers in order to form a narrative all their own. Yet Jonze's night-magic is a little different from Pixar's PG-13-rated fare — after an action sequence featuring an appearance by Moby Dick, the viewer is privy to some pretty copious boot-knocking… or, well, bone-knocking.
Taking emerging Parisian designer Olympia Le-Tan as inspiration, Jonze collaborated with French filmmaker Simon Cahn to complete the short's absurdly charming script and bring the felt pieces (hand-cut by Le-Tan) to life. With the handcrafted aesthetic of Le-Tan's designs and the vibrant sweetness we've come to expect from a Jonze script, the short makes for a delightful break from any workday. Also, be sure to note just how badass the female protagonist is — miming blowjobs, punching a whale in the face, successfully seducing a skeleton? Someone thank Spike Jonze for me: he just provided me with a new role model.