The Spirit of Père-Lachaise (L'Esprit du Père-Lachaise)

France, 2011


At the Père-Lachaise, no visit is ever the same. As she was visiting the tomb of her late love, a young woman discovers a strange necklace and is immediately engulfed by disturbing visions. Forgotten relic or poisoned gift? What if those old stones weren't really asleep?

Full storyline

The young woman

A young woman seems to be walking aimlessly in a graveyard which is none other than the famous "Père-Lachaise" in Paris.

As she walks farther from the outside world and toward the heart of the cemetery, her goal becomes clear: she is not on some random errand but rather here to pay tribute to her late loved one. Holding a single white rose, she approaches his grave...

After an angel passed, her duty accomplished, she slowly begins what should have been a casual journey home. However, just as she was leaving the alley, a bright flash of light caught her tearful eyes. Her curiosity aroused, though slightly uneased, she tracks back and stares at the defiled grave from whom the glare originated.

It does not take her long to find what she is looking for: a bizarre necklace covered with mud and dry leaves. As soon as she picks it up, the air suddenly gets thinner and all the surrounding life seems to depart. Ominous voices begin to whisper as she feels watched upon and is subject to eerie visions. Pushed by those voices without words, she cannot resist the will to wear this magnificent necklace. As her cold fingers close the lid, life begins to flow again around her.

Led by her mindless thoughts, she finds herself roaming through the lost alleys of the Père-Lachaise instead of going back straight to the exit. As the passes by a lush hill, she hears a broad sound of a heavy stone moving. Could it be a coincidence? Anyway, she walks up the hill and enters a shadowy clearing. In the middle of it stands the remains of a grave, now almost fully covered by vines. Not herself anymore, she leans toward the tombstone and begins to caress it, totally psyched by the haunting chants emanating from the stones.

A single white rose

But something feels terribly wrong about it.

As if in a dream where the spell had broken, she manages to get up and urges herself to leave the cemetery she once thought she knew so well. But the mind and its memories can be treacherous, for as hasty as she was, her footsteps only manage to lead her back to where it all began : her beloved's grave!

Shocked and scared, she begins to feel the angry presence of spirits from the past, an emerging consciousness violently attracted to her. The old stones are no more, there are now faces and people looking at her, craving for the life breathing through her lips. In a desperate attempt, she tears the charm away from her neck and throws it as far away as possible while running in the opposite direction, fleeing from the unseen horrors.

Almost running out of breath, she reaches another clearing, totally oblivious to the fact that it never seemed to be on any map she saw before. In the midst of this clearing stands a stone bust bearing the name of Léon Noël. Shredding the last remnants of her sanity as she realizes her neck is once again wearing the dreaded necklace, the bust takes a ghastly glance at her with its cold dead eyes. In a last attempt to save her life, she instinctually runs away from the clearing... Only to walk into it immediately, as if the whole world had shrunk to this very place. Accepting her fate, she falls on her knees in front of the bust and closes her eyes, waiting for the dead to claim her...

Except they already did. For her pale body had been resting on top of the graveyard she so carefully caressed. The dead had claimed their prey, the one who would accept their gift...