A besotted Mickey Mouse brought light relief to a crisis-themed Venice film festival on Tuesday, posing as a gondolier rowing up the Grand Canal in the floating city, smitten by young signorina Minnie.
"O Sole Minnie", a short by Emmy award-winning artist Paul Rudish, who helped develop and direct the much-loved animation series "Dextor's Laboratory" and "The Powerpuff Girls", captures the romantic spirit of the canal city.
Mickey leaps off his gondola into the restaurant where Minnie works as a waitress and puckers up for a kiss, but from there the hapless mouse is thwarted at every step, with pesky hippopotami, chickens and an operatic whale getting in his way.
The city's narrow waterways are thrown into confusion as he launches himself from the top of a building in his gondola, pings off a washing line and bounces from spire to spire to spin around the top of the majestic St. Mark's Basilica.
The technology may be cutting edge but the illustration harks back to the 1950s and 1960s and Mickey's wild ride through Venice -- from cries of "ciao bella!" to romancing with a plate of pasta -- will delight those who grew up with him.
Rudish's postcard hommage to the Italian city is just one of a series of short animations which will feature Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto going on adventures in Santa Monica, New York, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing.