While the Academy Awards feature categories for short fiction films, general audiences seldom have a chance to see the nominees. The 2002 Academy Award-nominated shorts include The ChubbChubbs, the first digitally animated short film produced by Sony Pictures Imageworks, the character animation and visual effects division of Sony Pictures Digital. Pixar held its place in the category with its short, Mike's New Car, which features Mike and Sulley from the Disney/Pixar blockbuster, Monsters, Inc. Other animated nominees include The Cathedral (Poland), Das Rad (Germany), and Mr. Head (Japan).
Live action films This Charming Man (Denmark), GridLock (Belgium), I'll Wait for the Next One (France), and Inja, aka Dog (Australia) will also screen.
The Texas Public Radio Web site (www.tpr.org) features descriptions of the Academy Shorts nominees, including links to their respective sites.
Academy Shorts screens Tuesday, August 26 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series. 7:30pm at AMC Huebner Oaks, admission $10 members/$12 non-members, 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.
El Rey del Barrio
Dir. Gilberto Martínez Solares; writ. Gilberto Martínez Solares, Juan García; feat. Germán Valdéz "Tin-Tan," Silvia Pinal, Marcelo Chávez, Yolanda Montes "Tongolele," Fanny Kaufman "Vitrola" (NR)
Tin-Tan was a Mexican original. His perpetual motion on screen obliged the movie camera to follow him as a dog would its master.
His 1949 film, El Rey del Barrio (The King of the Neighborhood), is one of his best. Think Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor or Jim Carrey in The Mask if you want to approximate what Tin-Tan was doing half a century earlier. The story is one of the working class stiff who lives a secret life as the gang leader of bungling cat burglars.
Even though Silvia Pinal plays his love interest, it is two other actresses who keep us enthralled. The first is bombshell Yolanda Montes "Tongolele." Her dance floor high jinks with Tin-Tan are dynamite. Ditto character actress Fanny Kaufman "Vitrola" (think Margaret Dumont and the Marx Brothers) and Tin-Tan. Theirs was a true cinematic marriage of comic timing and choreography.
While Rey is a bit dated in its sentiments, Tin-Tan's performance remains a tour-de-force. The king of barrio comedy still lives! — Gregg Barrios
El Rey del Barrio screens at the Instituto de México, 600 HemisFair Park, at 4pm on Sunday, August 24. Info: 227-0130. •