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Animation lovers take note, two beautifully drawn films to receive the Oscar nod for best animated feature this week; Chico and Rita and A Cat in Paris are soon to be released for your viewing pleasure. Captured in bold lines and washes of color by Spain’s celebrated artist and designer Javier Mariscal Chico and Rita is a love story set in pre-Castro Havana. Chico is a talented young piano player and Rita is the beautiful singer who captures his heart.

Set against an award-winning soundtrack of Latin rhythms featuring the music of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Tito Puente, Chano Pozo, and others, we follow them “as they chase their dreams and each other from Havana to New York to Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas.” Oscar®-winning director Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque, Calle 54) and Javier Mariscal have created a lush tribute to Cuban music and culture in this not-to-be-missed screen gem.

Chico and Rita has already won the Goya for Best Animated Feature in Spain and the European Film Award for Best Animated Feature and opens at New York’s Angelika Film Center on February 10th with plans to expand nationally throughout February, March, and April.

Equally worth seeing and an official selection at several US and International film festivals is the humorously entertaining A Cat in Paris, animated by Jean-Loup Felicioli and directed by Alain Gagnol. Illustrated in a graphic style reminiscent of French designer Cassandre’s use of flat, graphic, shapes in the 1930s, A Cat in Paris is “a love letter to classic noir films and the stylized wit of the Pink Panther cartoons” that follows the adventures of Dino, a normal house cat by day but a thief by night.

Each night Dino sneaks out of the apartment he shares with Zoe, a little mute girl and her mother Jeanne, a detective in the Parisian police force, to join Nico “a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion—as he evades captors and slips and swishes from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline.” Accompanied by the inimitable Billie Holiday’s music in the background, A Cat in Paris is a rare treat for children and adults alike. A Cat in Paris will be coming to theaters in 2012.

Both films are distributed by GKIDS, “a distributor of award winning animation for both adults and families.”