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Animation Celebration Highlights

Following is a review of the highlight of today’s screenings in the Los Angeles Animation Celebration at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

“Heroic Times"(Hungary) With live narration in English; 9:45 p.m. 86 minutes.

With its dark story and innovative visuals, Jozsef Gemes’ “Heroic Times” ranks among the most mature animated features of the last decade.

Based on Janos Arany’s “Toldi Trilogy,” the film traces the bitterly disillusioning career of a medieval knight who enters the service of a minor king, hoping to realize the ideals of chivalry, but finds himself a pawn in a game of dynastic power politics. Instead of glorifying a fictionalized past, “Heroic Times” examines the tensions between ideology and reality in the Middle Ages--with obvious reflections on the state of socialism in contemporary Eastern Europe.

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The entire film is executed in oil paint on canvas and glass, which gives the characters and settings a three-dimensional richness that traditional cel animation lacks. “Heroic Times” offers a new vision of what an animated feature can be, one that represents a radical break with the American tradition of restricting the medium to comedy-musicals.****

Other programs scheduled for today are: “New Scandinavian Animation,” 4 p.m.; “Fifth Program of Films in Competition,” 6 p.m.; and “A Tribute to Fedor Khitruk,” 8 p.m.


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