Chiara Luber brings vintage postcards to life in her summery ode to Hepburn and romance

Swoon and fall in love with a gorgeous cartoon tribute to Roman Holiday and the Italian singer Mina.

Summer is here, meaning it's time for a Roman Holiday, or holiday romance.

The heroine of new animated short Paroles d’Amour is certainly a romantic one, and a character based on the classic women of cinema portrayed by the late, great Audrey Hepburn. If you're wondering how an animation could possibly capture the spirit of summer, Hepburn and classic Italian cinema, then watch the short by Chiara Luber below.

Paroles d’Amour is the Parisian animator's first collaboration with Passion Paris, a stirring mix of classic Italian pop (Parole Parole by Italian singer Mina) and effervescent 2D animation that'll make even the most cold-hearted of us swoon.

"It was a project that built itself in my mind when I first heard the song by Mina on the radio," Chiara tells me by email. "I was experiencing a hard time in relationships at the time, and the meaning of the words hit me.

"The ideas for the animation popped into my mind as I was listening. I drew a quick animated storyboard with all these ideas, then put the project aside. A few months later, when I finally had some free time, I went back to it; I brought the storyboard and concept art to the Passion Paris crew, who kindly accepted to produce it in hope of future collaboration works with me.

"For about six months they let me stay in their studios to finish the production. I could never thank them enough for their trust in me."

On getting Paroles d’Amour's vintage look

"I wanted to give this project the appearance of old vintage postcards, with muted colours, giving them an altered reality that’s always captured my imagination," Chiara explains about the project.

"To obtain this 2D rendering, I created the layouts on Photoshop, animated the line animation on TVPaint, then went back to Photoshop to (digitally) paint every single animation frame. I wanted the finished look to seem as traditional as possible, as if you were looking at vintage painted postcards.

"What I was hoping to achieve through my images is to take the viewers on a journey through glorified vacation memories, have them sway from frame to frame and get lost in the soothing landscapes."

On inspirations

"Audrey Hepburn was an obvious source of inspiration for this film," Chiara says. "It’s Audrey Hepburn’s aesthetic mixed with Holly Golightly’s personality, avoiding romantic ties while secretly pursuing them despite past disappointments.

"The style was strongly inspired by vintage travel posters, which always hold the promise of a magical, fairytale-like place waiting to be explored. As for films, the girls and colours in Jacques Demy's Demoiselles de Rochefort and the oeuvre of Wes Anderson were definitely in my mind during production."

On Mina and whether Paroles d’Amour is a short or music video

"Parole Parole ('Words Words') has had many covers over the years, but the version by Mina is an incredibly powerful number.

"The lyrics flow into a much more abstract version than the version by Dalida, turning the melody into a rather strange and complex composition.

"It also has a bit of a jazzy feel to it which other versions don’t. It’s one of those songs you hear on the radio at the end of a long day in your childhood home in Sicily and hum along to with a smile on your face.

'It’s nostalgic, exotic almost, and invites you to go on a journey, if only through your own memories. 

"I started my animation career through directing a music video for a friend. I think that, inevitably, anything I direct will end up looking a bit like a music video, haha.

"The moods I feel through some songs lyrics I love is my biggest inspiration."

On that ending (spoiler)

"I wanted to end this sad melancholic tale on a fun note," Chiara says about the ending of Paroles d’Amour, where Mina finds a moment to pause and reflect besides a stranger who gestures instead of speaks. She says she doesn't want to talk anymore, and this possibly mute man doesn't want to either.

"He could be a mute, or it could even be a man that has suffered the same as her and has reaches a similar point in life. Actions over words will always prevail in the end."

Read next: Marlies van der Wel on exploring loneliness and self-fulfilment

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