By Bill Gallo
The winner of this year's Academy Award for best short animated film was John Canemaker's The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, an exploration of the Elmira, New York-born filmmaker's stormy relationship with his late father, who was apparently a brute and definitely a convicted arsonist. Peppered with bits of home movies and old family photos, it's a lacerating biography/autobiography that rises to the level of confessional poetry. Canemaker's film is the centerpiece of this impressive collection of animated Oscar nominees. Among the other highlights: Shane Acker's beautifully drawn 9, in which a pair of haunted fugitives are stalked through a ravaged wasteland by a huge, creaking insect with high-beam vision; Anthony Lucas's The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, which posits a beautifully detailed, pseudo-gothic city beset by appalling violence; and Sharon Colman's Badgered, which shows us the beleaguered quadruped of the title struggling to catch a nap. All in all, a great sampler of the animators' art.


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