Paper Memories: A Touching Stop-Motion Search for Happiness in Old Photographs

The many-award-winning short film Paper Memories by filmmaker and photographer Theo Putzu came out three years ago, but we only stumbled across this brilliant piece recently. Put together from some 4,000 photos, this short stop-motion experience captures loneliness, hope and lost love in a beautifully sad and ultimately heart-warming way.

The man in the video has lost the love of his life, and not a moment goes by that he doesn’t remember it. But one day, while looking through some of her old letters, he finds a series of old photographs, and so they embark on one more journey together.


Through the photos, she leads him on an excursion through the city, and as he finds the location where each picture was taken, she moves on to guide him to the next.

The film reaches its dramatic ending at the beach, where the woman in the photograph smiles at him, and then goes to sit by the water. Moments later, he returns the smile, magically steps over and into the photograph, and joins her by the waves.

Touching, heartwarming, and visually brilliant, our words really can’t do justice to the film. Check out the video for yourself to understand why, and if you like what you see, you can find more of Putzu’s work on his Vimeo profile.

  • frank mckenna

    this is beautiful.

  • Stan B.

    Thanks- missed it first time around… the end really did make it worthwhile!

  • Norshan Nusi

    It have the “Paint Me A Birmingham” feeling….

    Great short film…

  • Guest

    It is touching, and I get what the filmmaker is trying to do, but there are problems. The “pixilation” quality of the stop motion pulls the viewer out of the story; the technique wears out its welcome very early on. The piece would also have benefited from more editing. It did not need to be 7 minutes long to make its point or have its impact – quite the opposite, as we wait for it to get to the point, impatience builds as the early emotional points fade. Shorter is better.

  • Sparznat

    I agree. I couldn’t watch all of this. It was nicely done, but too long, and the jerkiness of the video was irritating. Not exceptional as others would have you believe.

  • dannybuoy

    Great idea. I was enjoying it. Then it just got a little boring. Not trolling, just saying. Skipping to about 6 minutes would have alleviated the problem ;-)

  • Ann

    Agreed. I watched the first two minutes and then FF to the end. Spoiler – I think his joining her in the picture is him joining her in death. Touching, but also agree it’s not as amazing as you’re led to believe.