‘Ratatouille’ Animator Delivers Parisian Stick Figures in Love


Inspired by the striking Edith Piaf–Theo Sarapo duet of the film’s title, today's Vulture Picture Palace short is Louis Clichy's freewheeling A quoi ça sert l'amour. Produced when Clichy was with Cube Creative, a Paris-based animation studio, A quoi ça sert l'amour gives us a young couple going through the pitfalls and wonders of love – meet up, break up, make up, anger, hurt, and joy – all in the space of two and a half marvelously propulsive minutes. The short caught the attention of Pixar, who hired Clichy as a 3-D animator; his first job at the studio was working on the Paris-set Ratatouille, opening today.

“It is very rare to hear Edith Piaf in a duet,” Clichy told us, drawing attention to how the song is built, with its thesis-antithesis verses about whether there’s a point to love: The man claims it’s of no use and that it seems to bring only misery; the woman argues that it seizes you, brings you joy even when it brings you sadness; they go back and forth, with “the simple melody repeated at a higher tonality each time, [creating] a strong crescendo.” The result: a romantic epic, starring stick figures. —Bilge Ebiri