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Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

The short “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” is a compelling story of one man’s friendship with a troubled soul

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Four quite short animated films (less than 10 minutes each) and one 35-minute work make up this year’s batch of nominees. (The screening program also includes a couple of extra films.) Folks might have already seen the Pixar short “Piper,” about the young sandpiper, but it’s just as charming the second time around. “Pearl” is also about growing up, as the relationship between a single dad and his rebellious daughter is charted over time, using shared touchstones of a love of music and a beat-up old car. The remaining shorts are a bit darker. “Blind Vaysha” uses a carved-wood-block style to tell of a girl cursed with malfunctioning eyes (one see the past, the other the future), and “Borrowed Time” is a digitally animated tale about an Old West sheriff revisiting a tragic moment in life. At more than 30 minutes, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” is like a novella. It’s a compelling story of one man’s friendship with a troubled soul — “To befriend Techno was to board a thrill ride of some sort” — and the twisty, rocky life his pal led. Director Robert Valley employs a graphic-novel aesthetic, both in the film’s look and its darkly humored first-person narration. It’s a contemporary noir, and a bittersweet elegy to those friends who never stop confounding and delighting us. A note: Unlike other years, this program is not wholly family-friendly. Starts Fri., Feb. 10. Regent Square


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