Of all the problems confronting a critic, perhaps none is as confounding as attempting to describe an animated motion picture that breaks new aesthetic ground -- for the most audacious and breathtaking examples transcend the very limitations of words. The Painting
-- a staggering feature by Frenchman Jean-François Laguionie -- raises that maxim to a whole new level. In addition to a narrative that is rife to bursting with conceptual invention, its images defy description. This isn't a movie; it's a visual smorgasbord, a 76-minute intoxication of the senses.
The story rests on an inspired conceit: What would happen, Laguionie asks, if each tableau on a...