Thanks to Michael Sporn I have been able to examine the list of films nominated for this year’s Academy Award in the Best Animated Short category. On the list is The Cat Piano, directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson from The People’s Republic of Animation. They animate an atmospheric, narrative poem recounting the story of cats disappearing from a cat city. When the narrator’s girl is abducted he sets out to save her, a journey that takes him to a dark tower to confront the presence who steals cats for his giant cat piano, a device that stabs the trapped felines causing them to shriek in controlled unison. Remarkably I understand the piano (Katzenklavier) was a real invention by a German Jesuit , Athanasius Kircher, in the 17th century. Narrated with a singular sense of mystery by Nick Cave and possessing an essentially jazz soundtrack from Benjamin Speed, the film is heavily stylised with blue, red, purple colour scheme, steamy nightclubs, dark alleyways, characters bathed in shadow, focus thrown on faces with white eyes wide open – often in horror in a mix of comic book, film noir and Gothic. The rhymed couplets are delivered with relish in a theatrical, parodied form that doesn’t take itself too seriously though the classy artwork does. Visit the production website and blog for more information.