Norman McLaren


Norman McLaren, Neighbours/Voisins, 8:02 mins, 1952

Norman McLaren here employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower. Film without words. McLaren won an Oscar for Neighbours/Voisins

Norman McLaren was born in Scotland in 1914. His interest in filmmaking began early in life after he became acquainted with works by the great Russian filmmakers Eisenstein and Poudovkine and the German animator Oskar Fischinger. While a student at the Glasgow School of Fine Arts, McLaren’s fascination with dance led him to make such stylized documentaries as Seven Till Five (1933). He subsequently joined the General Post Office Film Unit (GPOFU) in London, where he worked under John Grierson. It was there that he created Love on the Wing (1937), using the technique of drawing directly on the filmstrip. In 1939, McLaren immigrated to the United States, where he made several abstract films, including Stars and Stripes (1940) and Dots (1940). In 1941, he came to Canada and met up once again with John Grierson, who, at the request of the Canadian government, had founded the NFB. Grierson asked McLaren to put together the NFB’s first animation team.

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5 thoughts on “Norman McLaren

  1. I thought the movie was great. They are making a mockery of the possession of a flower. Through this movie we can laugh at something that is so petty, yet if we take a look at our own lives I think everyone of us can think of a time that something stupid ruined a relationship. When things like this are put in extreme examples it puts life into a better perspective. The technique they used was very interesting. It made an impact on the video. Does anyone know how hard it actually is to do that? It looks like it could be hard and take a long time but I have seen a lot of videos like this on youtube.

  2. I like the simple story-line to this short film, but its a story that anyone can relate to. The destruction of friendship over something soo small.

  3. I like the simple story-line to this short film, but its a story that anyone can relate to. The destruction of friendship over something soo small. I could see how this short film paved the way for other short films in the future. There is a lot of creativity within the work.

  4. I love how they make light of a somewhat serious problem by having two grown men fight over a flower. This scenario can be found in life everyday from arguments between two individuals or between two different countries. Either way a point is made and it’s a strong one.

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