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Animated Shorts

D: various

Forget 300 – the best action movie this year doesn't have oiled-up pecs and Caesar cuts, but a rat. "One Rat Short" (D: Alex Weil), in fact. This bravura computer-animated piece, one of very few solely CG entries, ends the program on a high note, with its whiplash set-pieces and studio-quality character animation making for a nail-nibbling and surprisingly moving film about star-crossed rat lovers. Also in the digital domain is "The Toll," a droll mockumentary about the solitary life of a bridge-haunter that plays like Gollum's outtake reel. Other crowd-pleasers include Bill Plympton's" Guide Dog," the pitch-black sequel to "Guard Dog"; the haunting Claymation spectacle of "Loom" (D: Scott Kravitz); and "Bolt" (D: Joey Ingram, Josh Mahan), an android's quiet tale of rebellion against an iPod-white world of sameness. But the most narratively gripping is "Kuro Kumo" (D: Jesse Norton), where a woman dreams of war with the ronin, or masterless ninja – the violence reflecting the uncertainty of our age.

Regina Pessoa's "Tragic Story With a Happy Ending" won the Animated Shorts jury prize; "One Rat Short" received a Special Jury Award.

11:15am, Alamo South Lamar

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