Canadian Film Pioneer NORMAN McLAREN;

McLAREN, NORMAN (Stirling, Scotland, 11 Apr. 1914-Montreal, Quebec, 26 Jan. 1987)

The most honoured Canadian Filmmaker, who has received literally hundreds of prizes and awards. His work might be better classified as experimental than animation; though he has made innovative use of a wide range of animation techniques (and himself invented or revived many of them), his films are artisanal creations, designed to provoke an aesthetic response, and not simply to amuse or fill in time on television.

Over fifty years he created a body of work that has no peer in cinema. Key examples of his films and techniques are discussed in separate entries. He studied design at the Glasgow School of Art and made his first films as a student there before joining the GPO Film Unit under John Grierson.

He worked in New York (1939-41) as an independent producer, then joined the NFB to set up the animation studio and train the first generation of Canadian animators. He remained with the NFB until his recent retirement, except for 1949 and 1952, which he spent respectively in China and India at the invitation of UNESCO. The BBC film The Eye Hears, the Ear Sees is on his work up to 1970. The filmography below includes only Canadian films.

Mail Early (41); V For Victory (41); Five For Four (42); Hen Hop (42); Dollar Dance (43); Alouette (44); C'est l'aviron (44); Keep Your Mouth Shut (44); Là-haut sur ces montagnes (45); A Little Phantasy on a Nineteenth Century Painting (46); Hoppity-Pop (46); Fiddle-de-dee (47); La poulette grise (47); Begone Dull Care (49); Around is Around (50-51); Now is the Time (50-51); A Phantasy (52); Neighbours (52); Two Bagatelles (52); Blinkity Blank (55); Rhythmetic (56); A Chairy Tale (57, with Claude Jutra); Le Merle (58); Short and Suite (59); Serenal (59); Mail early For Xmas (59); Lines Vertical (60); Opening Speech (60); New York Lightboard (61); Lines Horizontal (62); Canon (64); Mosaic (65); Pas De Deux (65); Spheres (69); Synchromy (71); Ballet Adagio (71); Pinscreen (73); Animated Motion, Parts 1-5 (76-78); Narcissus (83).

REF: (There is a considerable body of published writings on McLaren; the selection here includes only the more useful and recent articles together with books that include detailed filmographies and bibliographies): William Jordan, "Norman McLaren: His Career and Technique," Quarterly of Film, Radio and Television, 8, No. 1 (Fall 1953), 1-16; Séquences, 7 (dec. 1955), 35-40; André Martin, "Le cinéma de deux mains," Cahiers du cinéma, 80 (fev 1958), 27-36; André Martin, "Mystere d'un cinéma instrumental," Cahiers du cinéma, 82 (avril 1958), 34-47; Max Elgy, "Klee, Streinberg, McLaren," Image et son, 182 (mars 1965), 58-62; Norman McLaren (Montréal: La Cinematheque canadienne, 1965); May Cutler, "The Unique Genius of Norman McLaren," Canadian Art, 97 (May/June 1965), 8-17; Derek Elley, "Rhythm 'N Truths," Films and Filming, 20, No. 8 (June 1974), 30-36; Séquences, 82 (oct 1975) (special issue); Norman McLaren, The Drawings of Norman McLaren (Montreal: Tundra Books, 1975); Maynard Collins, Norman McLaren; Guy Glover, McLaren (Montreal: National Film Board, 1980); Cinema Canada, 99 (Sept 1983), 21-23.

(Used with permission by the author; Peter Morris; "The Film Companion - A Comprehensive Guide To More Than 650 Canadian Films & Filmmakers.
ISBN 0-7725-1505-0)

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