Cineme: Chicago International Animation Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

Cineme: Chicago International Animation Festival 

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This international festival of animated films and videos runs Friday through Sunday, November 7 through 9, at the Biograph, Chicago Cultural Center, and DePaul University Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield. Tickets are $6, $5 for children under 12, and are available at the venue box office 15 minutes prior to showtime. Festival passes, which grant priority seating, are $100 to $295; for more information see www.cineme.org or call 312-733-3827.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7

Best of Chicago Schools

Short works by students of Columbia College, DePaul University, and the School of the Art Institute. 45 min. (Biograph, 9:00 am)

Web Animation

Five shorts, to be projected from video. 18 min. (DePaul Univ. Student Center, 10:30 am)

Short films, program one

Leaving aside a few commercial entries that demonstrate only slick technique (e.g., a TV ad for a toenail-infection remedy), most of these 17 shorts convey impressive ideas. Using branching woodcutlike lines, Hammer Rall's The Erl-King brings to life the Goethe poem about a boy's terrifying nocturnal horseback ride through haunted woods. Also inventively stylized is Aaron Augenblick's Plugs McGinnis, Seeing Eye Dog, the story of a randy pooch leading his clueless master to a strip club depicted in a motley patchwork of swatches. David Chai's witty 25 Ways to Die is a mordant inventory of improbable demises: in "Death by Salmon" a spawning fish leaps upstream into the victim's urethra. Transition Waltz by Joseph A. Davis is a layered reverie in which a woman slips between her workaday life and her jazzy imagination. 145 min. (Bill Stamets) (Biograph, 11:30 am)

Short films, program two

A widely divergent program of 18 shorts. John Cernak's Dear, Sweet Emma is a viciously funny work about a misanthropic widow who harbors a cruel secret. Kevin Johnson's Early Bloomer is a fantastically detailed underwater story about a quartet of fish, punctuated with sharp cuts and propelled by a dazzling feel for movement and release. Bill Domonkos's eerie, Poe-inspired The Fine Art of Poisoning is tinged with undercurrents of dread and malice and solidified by the striking work of composer Jill Tracy. Kelly Williamson's Ollie the Otter is terse and pretty funny; Carolle-Shelley Abrams's Oola Oop Diner is a crudely drawn satire of French narcissism and American vengefulness. 91 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Biograph, 1:00 )

First Films & Experimental

Andrew Goode's The Love Tricycle is the most beguiling of these eight works. Set in an alternate universe where unmanned bicycles become objects of pursuit and romance, it details an unusual courtship and the angry intervention of a jealous suitor. In William Huber's Nailed a hammer takes out its frustrations on a group of nails that torment it. By comparison Justin Woiwode's A Void and Julie Lofton and Andrew Hodges's The Parody of the Giving Tree seem inconsequential, and Anodea Judith's The New Age Illuminated Chakras, an overlong work about spirit and consciousness, feels decidedly out of place. 72 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Biograph, 3:00)

Student Films

A program of 17 shorts by students from around the world. 90 min. (Biograph, 5:00)

The Aesthetic Universe of Animation

Russian animation scholar Mikhail Gurevich, who sits on the festival jury, will lecture on the possibilities of the art, presenting short films and excerpts from longer works. 90 min. (Chicago Cultural Center, 7:00)

Little Longnose

Ilya Maksimov directed this Russian feature, based on stories by Wilhelm Hauff. 82 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

Dreams of Alfeoni

Vladimir Nepevny's penetrating documentary profiles pioneering animator and avant-garde artist Aleksander Alekseyev, best known in America for the brilliant title sequence of Orson Welles's The Trial. A Russian who spent much of his career in France, Alekseyev invented the pin-screen technique, which uses illuminated pinheads to create pointillistic pictures, and constructed dense, frightening images from light and shadow. Collecting sharp testimony from Alekseyev's family, colleagues, and disciples, Nepevny surveys the artist's life and work without omitting the darker aspects of his complicated character. In English and subtitled French and Russian. 54 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Biograph, 8:00)

Frank & Ollie

A 1996 documentary about Franklin Thomas and Oliver Johnson, the Disney animators who created Pinocchio, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book. Theodore Thomas directed. 90 min. (Biograph, 8:00)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8

First Films & Experimental

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 9:00 am)

Nickelodeon

Shorts from the children's cable network. 88 min. (Biograph, 9:00 am)

Television

Seven 2-D and clay animations from the Cartoon Network and Bix Pix. 135 min. (Biograph, 9:00 am)

Frank & Ollie

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 11:00 am)

Web Animation

See listing for Friday, November 7. (DePaul Univ. Student Center, noon)

Student Films

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 1:00)

Short films, program two

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 1:00)

Little Longnose

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 3:00)

Short films, program one

See listing for Friday, November 7. (Biograph, 4:00)

Scary Godmother

A Canadian adaptation of the comic books and children's stories by Chicagoan Jill Thompson. Ezekiel Norton directed. 47 min. (Biograph, 6:00)

Igor Kovalyov Retrospective

The Ukrainian-born animator will attend this program of short works. 80 min. (Biograph, 6:30)

Bill Plympton

The Oscar-nominated animator will present selections from his work. Followed by a screening of Signe Bauman's Five Fucking Fables. 90 min. (Biograph, 8:00)

Millennium Actress

Two documentary filmmakers covering the demolition of a once grand Japanese film studio track down an iconic but reclusive screen heroine; as she recounts her brilliant career and shrouded personal life her interlocutors find past and present, reality and fantasy, blurring into an epic historical romance. I've never been a big fan of anime, but this second feature by Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue) is so mature, so well written, and so serious about addressing the history of postwar Japan that I found myself swept away. 87 min. (JJ) (Biograph, 9:30)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Scary Godmother

See listing for Saturday, November 8. (Biograph, 9:00 am)

Television

See listing for Saturday, November 8. (Biograph, 9:30 am)

Nickelodeon

See listing for Saturday, November 8. (Biograph, 10:00 am)

Millennium Actress

See listing for Saturday, November 8. (Biograph, 10:30 am)

Web Animation

See listing for Friday, November 7. (DePaul Univ. Student Center, noon)

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