News flash: Bambi's mother did not, in fact, die a painful, horrible death. She was made out of paint and celluloid, not flesh and blood. That's right, kids: cels, not cells. One of the amazing things about animation, as D. Jud Jones and Risto Topaloski demonstrate anew in their tongue-in-cheek feature, Film Noir, is how we can be made to care so deeply about synthetic, nonliving characters. (Insert Keanu joke here.) Film Noir, the centerpiece of the Second San Francisco International Animation Festival (presented by the S.F. Film Society, the same crew that puts on the S.F. International Film Festival), follows an amnesiac L.A. private dick riddling out his identity while dodging assassins and the law. This is postmodern noir more Sin City than The Maltese Falcon with the hero screwing every curvaceous neighbor, junkie, and stripper in sight. For those with less tawdry tastes, the lineup includes the charming, all-ages-suitable, stop-motion saga of Komaneko: The Curious Cat by Japanese animator Tsuneo Goda and Play It by Eye, a program of music videos featuring the likes of the White Stripes, Beck, and Michel Gondry. What you won't find, though, is a deer in the gun sights.
Today's screenings start at 7 p.m. with the shorts program "Top Drawers."
Nov. 8-11, 2007