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Saturday, April 17, 2010


A flop at home, but a cult hit abroad, Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto made this ‘70s counter-culture FANTASIA/’40 using short concert favorites by Debussy, Ravel, Dvorak, Sibelius, Vivaldi & Stravinsky. (Disney’s FANTASIA 2000 mangled the same Stravinsky cut.) When it came out, Bozzetto’s ribald touch & simple technique seemed much freer than classic Disney house style, but time has taken a heavy toll on Bozzetto’s modest work. More than a third of the running time is given over to insufferable ‘funny’ live action (cheaper than animation) and the shorts, frankly, disappoint. With one exception, the stories aren’t well-matched to the scores, and the Bozzetto style soon grows tiresome. Even the most successful number (‘Valse Triste’ by Sibelius), where a depressed cat remembers happier times, is visually compromised with ghostly live-action double exposures disrupting stylistic unity. There’s simply nothing in here that compares with what’s best in the Disney classic. (And the passing years have supplied period charm to FANTASIA's less successful sections. Even for those nubile ‘40s teen girl centaurs.) ALLEGRO now feels like a lost cause to all but Baby Boomer’ nostalgists. The Home Vision DVD includes extra Bozzetto, and the first (‘Baby Story’) & the third (‘Grasshoppers’) are both brilliant & hilarious. (NOTE to Parents: There’s a touch of live-action nudity & lots of Italian breast-fixation.)

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