The premise of Film Forum's motley week of animations isn't so much humorlessnessmost of the featured shorts are wickedly funnybut the unsung, largely undistributed dark art of serious frame-by-frame filmmaking, a massive genre that could support an entire summer's calendar (starting with Walerian Borowczyk, Alexander Alexeieff, Yuri Norstein, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Abi Feijó, Priit Pärn . . . ). The recent English-language films here, running from five to 23 minutes each, explore decidedly un-cartoonish alleyways, and many are disappointingly sketchy visually. The most fulsomely executed of the films are also the thickest cuts: Lisa Crafts's The Flooded Playground (2005) has a creepy Czech-puppet vibe (while being partially digital) and details the travails of a doll-infant figure under siege by ghostly invasions. Veteran animator Suzan Pitt's El Doctor (2005) dishes out a lavishly surreal parable about an aging Mexican doctor, painted in lurid, Crumb-like caricatures. The Brits are repped by Suzie Templeton's very unfunny stop-motion Dog (2001)grim statements about childhood dominate the programand Chris Shepherd and David Shrigley's Who I Am and What I Want (2005), a Sharpie-drawn first-person portrait of a psychotic misanthrope's life and delusions. Rougher still and most viciously, JJ Villard's semi-notorious Son of Satan (2005) translates a Bukowski story of teen abuse into a seething, pustulant ordeal.
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