IN THE animated short "Snowie and the Seven Dorps," an oddly familiar character called Queenie stares at her reflection and says: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most self-aware, self-actualized, together person of them all?"
"Snowie," which also features seven West Coast agents called Sorry, Creepy, Geeky, Later, Wimpy, Sleazy and I'll Call Ya, is just one of the amusing ingredients in "The Third Animation Celebration."
Humor, in fact, is the predominant attraction in this collection of 19 animated shorts from France, Italy, Canada, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, but mostly the United States.
In "This Is Not Frank's Planet," for instance, a space rocket zips around an alien world while unseen passengers Spigott and Rudy converse in amusing Dudespeak: "Nice play, Shakespeare!" groans one of them when the driver makes a wrong move. "Mr.-Stupid-Idiot-Albert-Schweitzer," he calls him later.
In "War Story," a vivid, clay-animated film from England taken from a real-life interview, a British factory worker rambles amusingly on and on about the London bombing raids. In "Personality Software," set in the not-too-distant present, the hapless and lovelorn insert computer diskettes into their heads to transform their vapid personalities into supercharged (not to mention self-actualized) beings.
Perhaps the wittiest offering is a recurring series of shorts featuring an American doctor by the unlikely Xhosa name of Dr. Janice N!gotu, who goes through her postfeminist, modern and, yes, self-actualized paces -- including a disastrous blind date with a bullnecked bore called Bill Wallhead.
The standout piece of "Celebration," however, is master image-maker Jan Svankmeier's "Darkness, Light, Darkness," a brilliant piece in which blobs of clay build themselves into a human body (inserting a pink, slushy brain and tongue in the process). His sense of animation, as always, has a way of rising above the crowd.
THE THIRD ANIMATION CELEBRATION (Unrated) -- At the Biograph.