This year's selection for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film is a much stronger one than last year. Spanish director Javier Recio Gracia has a definite contender in The Lady and the Reaper. It is a stylishly staged short in which an old woman welcomes the arrival of the grim reaper to take her from a lonely farm where a photograph of her departed husband is all she has for company. The arrival of the hooded guy with the scythe does not go entirely as planned, however, due to the infernal intervention of supremely handsome, confident, famous, worshipped surgeon surrounded by a besotted harem of nurses. The diabolical struggle between surgeon and reaper, along with an intervention from the lady herself, forms the basis of a very funny chase movie. The imaginative action, often coloured in flamboyant fashion, has a comic timing that is always assured and sustained throughout its seven minutes. (Indeed there is not a dead moment throughout - odd given its theme.) A most sophisticated movie all round, aided by a marvellous choice of accompanying music, including original work from Sergio de la Puente. I would not be displeased were it to top the poll. Whether it is sufficiently pioneering is a question for the judges. The link is to a HQ version, befitting a high quality film. And, by the way, if Logorama has a vaunted theme as I have read, it could be argued Javier's movie is a triumphant promo for voluntary euthanasia.