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.