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Romeo Meets Juliet: A Parisian Love Story Executed in Graffiti

"Partir" is a stop-motion tale of passion, separation, and white chalk.

Joanna Lurie

OK, so I'm not exactly sure with this film that there's a defined "Romeo" and "Juliet." These amorphous blobbites could be a same-sex couple or asexual beings that reproduce via spores, for all I know. But that's fine, as long as they're having a good time in their doodley courtship along the grimy walls of Paris.

"Partir" ("To Leave") is a stop-motion tale of love, separation, and white chalk created this year by Joanna Lurie. She shot it by scribbling the protagonists on facades and alleyways across town, which explains why the background color is always shifting and cracks popping up like sudden scars. It's an open question whether the ending hews to Shakespeare's tragedy-soaked play. Lurie suggests it doesn't, explaining that the characters "follow each other beyond the walls." Did they make it to the third dimension, perhaps, where they could enjoy a physical embrace?

Put through Google's translator, that quote at the end reads: "Just now I heard the heartbeat of a tiny drop of rain." How cryptic which is to say, how very Parisian.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.