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Oscar--Nominated Short Films 

Will Coviello on The Gruffalo

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Several of the animated films nominated for 2011 Oscars are very short and very sweet. The by-comparison epic 27-minute The Gruffalo (pictured) anchors this showcase like a feature film. With voices by Helena Bonham Carter and John Hurt, The Gruffalo is the tale of a clever mouse who eludes a series of invitations to dinner, at which he is clearly to be the entree, by telling tales about a fearsome forest creature. But the beastly figure becomes more than food for thought. One of the most entertaining entries is Let's Pollute, a cheery six-minute primer on how to be more wasteful, done in the style of 1950s and '60s educational films. Also six minutes long and cute is the Pixar entry Day & Night, which inverts the concept of negative space to allow two twin-like creatures to see each other's inner qualities, leaving the rest of the screen black. The animation is so quick and vibrant that the film's heavily didactic mission actually manages to sneak up on the viewer. More deadpan but also charming in imploring viewers to stop and smell the flowers and care for mutts is the Australian film The Lost Thing. The final nominee is Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage, which is a travelogue created in an array of illustration and visual art styles, some of which progress like a slideshow and some like stop animation. In it, a European traveler witnesses the Famadihana, or funeral customs, of the island nation, and in many ways, the ceremonies echo second-line traditions of mourning and celebration. A couple of Academy Award-commended films also are included in the showcase. The nominees for short live-action films screen in a separate showcase. The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) sponsors opening night of both film showcases: animated shorts at 6 p.m., live-action shorts at 8 p.m. The Prytania continues the screenings for one week, and showtimes are to be announced. Tickets $8.50 general admission, $6.50 NOFS members. — Will Coviello

Feb. 11

Oscar-Nominated Short Films

6 p.m. & 8 p.m. Friday

Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787; or

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