Though certainly not the best of the animation collections that make the rounds each year, "The Third Animation Celebration: The Movie" still has more than enough enjoyable pieces to make it worthwhile - including Bill Plympton's latest (see the cover story).
The Tower Theater is the showcase for a three-week run of this new animation compilation. All seats are $5, with proceeds going to Tower Theater project by Independent Film Forum, which hopes to refurbish and reopen the theater as a community showcase for art, foreign-language and classic films.The shorts I found most appealing were the opening, "The Animated Star-Spangled Banner," which uses visual puns to illustrate the singing of 5-year-olds; a series of blackouts featuring female psychiatrist "Dr. Janice," who comments on modern problems; the visually stunning "Welcome," from the Soviet Union, though the English dubbing makes it slightly lethargic; Jan Svankmajer's wild clay animated "Darkness, Light, Darkness," with dismembered body parts gradually coming together to form a whole man; the music video, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," sung by They Might Be Giants; "Zeno Reads a Newspaper" and "Reading Room," both of which seem influenced by Bill Plympton's abstract comic style; and, an inside joke for fans of the genre, "Lava Jr."
Less successful for me were "This Is Not Frank's Planet," "Snowie and the Seven Dorps" and "Mr. Tao," the latter by an animator whose work I admire, Bruno Bozzetto - but, to be honest, I just didn't get this one.
Computer animation, clay animation, pencil drawings, cel animation - you name it, it's here.
So, it's not perfect. Animation fans won't mind.
"The Third Animation Celebration" is not rated but has two pieces that are in PG territory - "Darkness, Light, Darkness," which features an anatomically correct nude male figure in clay, and "Zeno Reads a Newspaper," in which there is a quick shot of a topless female, also done in clay.