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Spike Jonze / Mourir Auprès de Toi

We interviewed Sylvain Derosne, the lead animator on Spike Jonze’s sweetly ill fated romp ‘Mourir Auprès de Toi’ (To Die By Your Side) a collaboration with the fashion world of director Simon Cahn and coveted felt bag designer Olympia Le-Tan.

Set in a well beloved parisian bookstore ‘Shakespeare and Company’ after hours, it’s a fun poke at and of high culture. Stop Motion seems the perfect medium to blend Spike’s cinematic skills and raw humor with Le-Tan’s tactile handmade aesthetic. We get existential naughtiness, feminine heroism, and of course nothing’s funnier than the tragically blundering lust of a skeleton.

Lead animator Sylvain Derosne was kind enough to answer a few questions about the piece:

It seems a very creative mix of stop motion and replacement cut-out figures. How did you plan for the shoot?

    We planned for about two months. The other animator and I knew in pre-production what would be stop motion and what would need replacement cut-out figures. For example, Mina’s dress had to be replacement to make it look more fluid, as did the water effects and the angle switching on characters. All the poses were animated, then cut out at the Olympia workshop. Since it was a very small crew it was easy to organize.

Did you have to make special cut-out pieces during animation?

    Yes of course! The blanket for instance was totally improvised frame after frame. Anyway we always had to make adjustments and add overlaps. Even the base of the water effect was cut-out figures; we had to improvise a little.

Was it all on glass?

    Yes everything is done on glass. We just took the glass out whenever we had action with the books on the shelf, when the skeleton crawls out of the covers or when he falls into the water.

Do you have a favorite bit of animation?

    My heart goes to Stop Motion, whether it is volume or flat. I like the risk of this technique. You have to just roll with the shot until it’s done. In the end, it’s more about intuition than thought. Animating on glass is quite comfortable ‘cause there are less physical constraints, and you can allow yourself to improvise a bit more. Speaking of which, I’m co-directing a film called Project ex-60, produced at the same place as Mourir Auprès de Toi, near Paris : Manuel Cam Studio. It mixes volume stop-motion and live action.

How was it to work with Dragon?

    Great, very fluid and fast. It’s very nice to finally have a living software dedicated to stop motion. It’s very intuitive and step by step and the updates really make it complete.

Thank you for the kind words, more for producing great work. -DF

See other fine projects from Sylvain Derosne here.

Read interviews about the film with Olympia Le-Tan and Spike Jonze

Making of video below:

Film Credits

Produced by
Gregory Bernard
Diane Jassem

Co-produced by
Nicolas Lhermitte

Original Music by
Sam Spiegel

Cinematography by
Stephen Barcelo
Jean-Louis Padis

Production Design and Art Direction by
Olympia Le-Tan

Sylvain Derosne animation director
Léonard Cohen animator

Art Department
Benjamin Fanni set designer

David Amsalem sound editor
Jocelyn Robert sound re-recording mixer

Special Effects by
Fabien Feintrenie

Camera and Electrical by
Alexandre Chapelard key grip

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