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Because it requires scores of tiny variations to render a single gesture, animation lends itself to Disney-style production lines and, more recently, computerization. Oscar-winning Canadian animator Frederic Back (pictured), however, draws each frame of his elegant films himself. His hand rendered every flickering shift of his best-known short, The Man Who Planted Trees, the tale of a lone peasant who transforms an arid region in France. The film begins with a narrow range of browns and grays and ends in a profusion of color, celebrating the vibrancy of nature—and the merits of amateur forestry. Born in Germany in 1924 and educated in France, Back moved to Montreal in 1948 and began working at Radio-Canada’s television animation studio in 1968. Although The Man Who Planted Trees is derived from a story by Jean Giono, Back’s work also draws on the myths of Canada’s Algonquin and Micmac Indians for his natural-world themes. “Knowledge of the laws of nature should encourage us to use such laws for inspiration, but, all too often, we only study them in order to find better ways of circumventing them,” he has said. This program presents four of Back’s short animated films of the past 20 years: Tout Rien, a denunciation of environmental pillage; The Mighty River, an homage to Quebec’s St. Lawrence; Crac!, the tale of a Quebec rocking chair; and, of course, The Man Who Planted Trees. Back will attend the program, and after the screenings, he’ll be interviewed by Erju Ackman. The program begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)