For 20 years, the International Tournee of Animation, an annual program of short films (at selected theaters), has been offering American audiences a chance to see some of the best examples of world animation.
Although museum shows and cable distribution make it easier to see animated films today, the tournee remains the most prestigious showcase of its kind. The 20th installment is an uneven collection encompassing a wide spectrum of techniques, media and quality.
In "Carnival" (Great Britain), Susan Young uses a few graceful lines and fragments of bright pigment to evoke the movements of the dancers in a Latin American festival. Although Young's direction is uncertain at times, "Carnival" is an outstanding piece of pure animation that blends motion, color and sound into patterns of synergetic beauty.
Three examples of state-of-the-art computer animation from the United States highlight the rapid development--and limits--of this medium.
John Lasseter and William Reeves bring an unprecedented intensity to the inanimate objects that become characters in "Red's Dream" and the Oscar nominee, "Luxo, Jr." Like the best drawn characters, the forlorn unicycle in "Dream" and the long-suffering father lamp in "Luxo" express recognizable emotions through the way they move. In Michael Cedeno's "Oilspot and Lipstick," the antics of two doglike creatures composed of odd bits of junk capture some of the fun of the old theatrical cartoons.