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Jewtoons Take San Francisco

Remember the days of cartoon movies? A time when classics like “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” ruled the big screen, and before Buzz Lightyear and his “Toy Story” pals came in and crashed the party? While CGI (computer-generated imagery) movies like “Toy Story” paved the way for a new generation of films, the 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has rediscovered the lost art of classic cartoons with Jewtoons, the festival’s first animated shorts screening.

The Demon Bridegroom: A puppet?s mystical matrimony. Image by COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Taking place August 6 and 8, Jewtoons includes 15 animated short films that explore a wide variety of topics. In the silent film “The Heart of Amos Klein,” the main character, Amos, is scheduled for a heart transplant. He pauses to reflect on memorable moments during his life, moments that happen to coincide with important events in Israel’s history.

The deeply moving “My Memories Are Entwined With You” features an Israeli girl in the throes of young love with a boy who doesn’t seem to care for her.

But perhaps the most intriguing short is Andrea Dezso’s stop-motion animated film, “The Demon Bridegroom,” based on mystical Jewish folk stories. Besides exploring elements of Jewish mysticism and humor, Dezso uses puppets as the films’ stars, which begs the question: Who needs Pixar and its fancy CGI animation anyway?

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