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review

In Window Horses, a mixed-race character from Vancouver is invited to read at an Iranian poetry festival, a story conceived by filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming almost a decade ago and is now being premiered in North America.

In Window Horses, animator Ann Marie Fleming casts her recurring Stick Girl character as Rosie Ming, a tender Chinese-Canadian poet with one slim volume to her credit. The stick figure with a pink beret feels overwhelmed by the invitation to read her work at a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran – and by the personal quest that takes her to the homeland of a father who abandoned her when she was a child. In the film's finest moments, as a generous Iranian host explains traditional Farsi poetry, the animation and the themes mingle and explode in a riot of cross-cultural colour as the stringy Canadian cartoon meets gorgeously rendered illustrations – and personifications – of Persian traditions. Elsewhere, the film, energetically voiced by a star-studded cast that includes Sandra Oh as Rosie and Don McKellar as an obnoxious German poet, charts a less engaging if highly individual story of emotional growth and family melodrama.