Sparky’s Magic Piano (1987 animation)

Sparky’s Magic Piano (1987 animation) Inspired from 1947 78-RPMs, when Capitol Records invented Sparky, an imaginative child for whom inanimate objects come to life. For every boy who would prefer playing baseball to practicing the piano, this later short was a delight. The animation was produced and written by Alan Liningston, and directed by Lee … More Sparky’s Magic Piano (1987 animation)

The Congress (2013)

The Congress (2013) “Ultimately everything makes sense. And everything is in our mind.” Ari Folman adapted ideas from Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress in a movie that combines real footage with animation, and which predicts a CGI  hallucinogenic future for the Dream Factory of Hollywood. Robin Wright plays an actress who signs away her image … More The Congress (2013)

Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985)

Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985) 銀河鉄道の夜, (Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru) Gisaburo Sugii helmed this gathering of future anime masters, who stitched together. and added to complete, fragments of a composition by Kenji Miyazawa that had become one of Japan’s most popular children’s stories.  A young cat/boy, Giovanni, falls asleep on a hill outside his … More Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985)

Umbilical World (2018)

Umbilical World (2018) British animator David Firth compiled 13 years of macabre humor into this crazy quilt of paranoid nightmares. Internet surfers will recognize favorites from YouTube past and marvel at the stylistic unity that emerges from this retrospective of experimental, underground art. Independent in every sense of the word, David Firth joins the company … More Umbilical World (2018)

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

A Scanner Darkly (2006) Richard Linklater adapted Philip K. Dick’s novel using rotoscopic animation to enhance the eerie life in a dystopian world of police surveillance during a drug pandemic. Substance D, which causes bizarre hallucinations, has swept through the entire population. It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is real and what … More A Scanner Darkly (2006)

La Planète sauvage /Fantastic Planet (1973)

La Planète sauvage /Fantastic Planet (1973). Awarded the Grand Prix special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, this innovative feature-length animation was directed by René Laloux and written by Laloux and Roland Topor, based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul. Its allegorical structure concerning the conflict between … More La Planète sauvage /Fantastic Planet (1973)

“The Masque of the Red Death” from Extraordinary Tales (2015)

“The Masque of the Red Death” from Extraordinary Tales (2015) This concluding sequence, from Spanish director and animator Raul Garcia ’s collection of five tales from Edgar Allen Poe, remains my favorite cinematic version. As Jeannette Catsoiulis wrote in her New York Times review, “…the rosy wash of oily color that flows over the story’s … More “The Masque of the Red Death” from Extraordinary Tales (2015)

Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (2001)

Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (2001) Based on Tezuka’s manga, directed by Rintaro, written by Katsuhiro Otomo, this feature-length anime dramatizes the upcoming conflict between AI and humans, to warn against the rise of ultranationalism. SPOILER ALERT: At the climax of this movie, Tima, created by Dr. Laughton for the oligarch Duke Red who mourns the loss … More Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (2001)

Asparagus (1979) and Pinball (2013)

Asparagus (1979), Suzan Pitt’s first breakthrough animation, and Pinball (2013), her last animation, showcase amazing accomplishments celebrating independent filmmaking. On the CalArts Web site, Maureen Seawood wrote, “She [Suzan] believed that within us, we had the ability to unfold the way we dream. That each image leads us to the next image, giving birth to … More Asparagus (1979) and Pinball (2013)