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The Movie: The DVD Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase spotlights the imagination and craft of Joan C. Gratz, a Portland, Oregon-based animator whose aforementioned film snagged the 1992 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. The disc is a modest but worthwhile collection that explores the surreal frontiers of animation. The centerpiece of the collection, Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, is a knockout. Gratz employs her unique approach of "clay-painting" to take viewers on a journey through the works of 35 iconic artists. Don't mistake clay-painting for Rankin/Bass-type Claymation. First developed by Gratz in the late Sixties, the process involves using small bits of clay as if they were oil or acrylic paint. Gratz blends the colors to form flowing lines and forms -- creating, in essence, a moving painting. "Within the realm of animation I am most intere...Read the entire review

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