: : : Neurotica

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Most of the 11 short films on this noteworthy disc were made at the National Film Board of Canada during the '70s and '80s, its creative heyday. In the darkly funny "Why Me?," a nebbish-type little man undergoes all seven Kubler-Ross stages of dealing with death--in under five minutes. Alison Snowden and David Fine examine a mid-life crisis--and a hilariously botched surprise party--in "Bob's Birthday," the Academy Award-winning short that spawned the "Bob and Margaret" series. A lonely man literally wrestles with his id and superego in "No Problem," while "George and Rosemary" spoofs love among the ruined. In contrast to the zany humor of the other films, Wendy Tilby's elegiac "Strings" explores how love can arise under unlikely circumstances. This lovely, Oscar-nominated short was executed in the difficult technique of paint-on-glass. Les Drew makes points about communicating with others--and sends up the clichés of monster movies--in "Shyness," but the film lacks the gleeful nuttiness of his "Every Dog's Guide to Complete Home Safety." John Weldon, the codirector of "Special Delivery," seems more interested in exploring the possibilities of a new computer graphics systems than in presenting a real story in "Scant Sanity." Although several of these films have been released previously, serious students of the art of animation will want Neurotica in their library. Unrated; suitable for ages 12 and older, with minor nudity and cartoon violence. --Charles Solomon
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