The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore


Widely circulating and Oscar nominated, Academy Award winning short that I first stumbled upon in the Goodreads group, Book Buying Addicts Anonymous (fits me to a T, which is why I'm a member), I fell in love with this wordless short filled with a gorgeous, memory-rich score, talented art and a genuine sentimental emotion toward books, stories, and the life lived in them.  The film centers around bibliophile Lessmore and his custodianship of a magical library of flying books. It was created using computer animation, miniatures and traditional hand-drawn techniques.

The short inspired a book to be released this year in 2012 of the same name, a 56 page Hardcover written for young readers, published June 19, 2012, by Joe Bluhm and William Joyce.

According to Wikipedia, here is the inspiration for the short:

The book was inspired by children's books publisher at HarperCollins and Joyce's mentor William Morris. Joyce wrote a story about a man who gives his life to books when he was on an airplane flight to visit Morris. Joyce read the story to Morris, who died a few days after that.[3]
Morris Lessmore was visually modeled after the silent film actor Buster Keaton. The film drew particular inspiration from the storm scene in Keaton's Steamboat Bill Jr. and the tornado from The Wizard of Oz. Also an inspiration was the real-life Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005.[5]
Like The Wizard of Oz, the film utilizes the contrast of color and black-and-white as a narrative device. In this case, the black-and-white represents despair and is brought about by the storm. The color reappears gradually, first returning with the girl flying with the books. Morris himself becomes colored after he steps into the library, but his book remains in black-and-white until he begins to write in it again. The people who visit Morris from the city also appear in black-and-white until Morris gives them a book, at which point they become colored again.

Personally I'm delighted someone decided to make a short that celebrates the genuine magic of books and how they can shape, affect, and influence ones life. The ending was a bit sad and I have read many comments I agree with, a bit tear-jerking. The animation, black and white effects before a book is opened, and the imagery and emotions conveyed without actual words used is a potent effect.