Venice International Film Festival

Animakios, Filmax

VENICE, Italy -- "Nocturna" is a graceful and entertaining animated film for children, which deserves an opportunity although it eschews the splashy effects and big name voices of major studio animation.

Screened out of competition in the Venice Nights sidebar at the Venice International Film Festival, the 83-minute production from Barcelona is handsomely drawn telling a charming tale of an orphan who learns why he shouldn't be scared of the dark.

Co-directors Victor Maldonado and Adria Garcia, who wrote the screenplay with Teresa Vilardell, imagine a world where all the things that go bump in the night are carefully managed by teams of exotic characters.

At a city orphanage, little Tim has found a way to ease his nighttime fears by connecting with his own personal star in the sky named Adhara. But when Adhara's light goes out he ventures into the dark to find out what's happened. There he meets such weird and wonderful characters such as the Cat Shepherd, the Star Keeper and a mischievous urchin named Pee, who's the guilty party whenever a bed is wet.

With the help of a cat named Tobermory, some stalwart light bulbs known as Luminouses, and the bright North Star, Tim learns how to deal with his fears and battle a scary wraith named the Shadow.

The uncredited voices are bland but the images are clever and entertaining, and the film should end up on many a nipper's DVD shelf.

Animakios, Filmax
Directors: Victor Maldonado, Adria Garcia
Animation director: Valentin Amador
Writers: Victor Maldonado, Adria Garcia, Teresa Vilardell
Producers: Julio Fernandez, Philippe Garell
Executive producers: Carlos Fernandez, Marie-Laurence Turpin
Production designer: Alfredo Torres
Music: Nicolas Errera
Editor: Felix Bueno
Running time -- 83 minutes
No MPAA rating
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