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MOVIE REVIEW

Party Mix: 2009 Animated Shorts Program

Animated ‘Party Mix’ looks like fun

'Zoologic' by Nicole Mitchell is included in 'Party Mix,' an all-animated program at the MFA. "Zoologic" by Nicole Mitchell is included in "Party Mix," an all-animated program at the MFA.
By Joel Brown
Globe Correspondent / August 22, 2009

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Let’s start with a disclaimer. Unlike other movies reviewed in these pages, there wasn’t an advance screening or DVD available for the films that make up “Party Mix: 2009 Animated Shorts Program.’’ All but a few are available online, however, on YouTube or elsewhere, sometimes in low-resolution versions. Given the wildly diverse nature of the films, an Internet scavenger hunt didn’t seem like an inappropriate way to preview them.

“Party Mix,’’ screening at the Museum of Fine Arts beginning today, is a mini-festival of sorts, a selection of audience and jury favorites from the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Not every film was available in its entirety online. Just a minute of the six-minute “Life-Line,’’ by Hungary’s Tomek Ducki, was available. But its fluid motion and pulsating electronic soundtrack are eerily gorgeous, making it the most likely to thrill on the big screen. Human silhouettes made up of gears and wheels move forward along curving coglines in a metaphor for the struggles of existence; where it’s going, we don’t know (duh).

Another standout is “Flatlife,’’ by Jonas Geirnaert of Belgium, an 11-minute Rubik’s Cube of a film depicting interlocking comic moments in four rooms of an apartment building, two up, two down. Banging on the ceiling with a broomstick is just the start of the complex chain reaction.

Some of the films are already widely known, including “Fuggy Fuggy’’ by the United Kingdom’s The Brothers McLeod. The same goes for the Oscar-nominated “I Met the Walrus,’’ by Canada’s Josh Raskin, which offers rich illustration to an audiotape of then-14-year-old Jerry Levitan’s brief 1969 interview with John Lennon.

“Party Mix’’ contains both computer-animated and traditionally drawn films. It appears that “Don’t Let It All Unravel,’’ by Sarah Cox of the UK, employs old-school stop-motion, using yarn to illustrate the disaster of climate change. (Grievously annoying soundtrack babble, though.)

Any individual film is less important than the notion that this is a rich collection of work, some serious and some slight. The festival focuses on finding better films for an audience, ages 9 to 16. But all of the shorts available for preview had something that would make them appeal to animation fans of any age.

PARTY MIX: 2009 Animated Shorts Program

At: the MFA

Running time: 75 minutes

Unrated

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