Single-Cel Organisms

It’s a crime, frankly, that Pixar will shortly be salivating over a fifth Animated Feature Oscar at a time when Hayao Miyazaki, The Triplets of Belleville, Sin City, Persepolis, and Waltz with Bashir have reclaimed animation for adults. As the fourth S.F. International Animation Festival illustrates over five whipsawing days, this astonishingly pliable genre allows for every mode of storytelling. Today’s lineup is typical, encompassing a joyful immersion in local artists Amy Hicks’ amusing stop-motion narratives and Nate Boyce’s manipulated video (“Super Massive Suspension,” 3:15 p.m.), choice European shorts from the continent’s premier animated film fest (“The Best of Annecy,” 5:45 p.m.) and the requisite late-night medley of head-bending music videos (“Play It by Eye,” 9:30 p.m.). Mizuho Nishikubo scores the prime-time slot with Musahi: The Dream of the Last Samurai (7:45 p.m.), an inventive, irreverent exploration of 17th-century Japanese swordsmanship and the military mind that tosses documentary, anime, and pure inspiration into a blender. Of course, the kids deserve their fix, too, especially after sitting bored witless through last year’s Up. They’ll lap up the endearing and rarely screened Alice cartoons (1 p.m.) Walt Disney made in the mid-1920s, before gold-plated statuettes started being handed out for kids' stuff.
Nov. 11-15, 2009

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