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October 24, 2006

Norman McLaren: The Master's Edition

image from Norman McLaren's Pax de Deux

Norman McLaren was a genius. That's not just my opinion, Picasso thought so too, as did Francois Truffaut. McLaren was an animator and experimental film maker who created works that destroyed the limits of what was thought possible through the medium of film. He would create animations by scratching shapes directly into the film emulsion, or use live models as stop-motion animation props, or create multiple exposures that used dozens of interlocking images.

McLaren was the founding director of the National Film Board of Canada's animation division (a post he held for more than 40 years) and under his tutelage the NFB became the place for cutting-edge animation. Along the way hewon an Oscar, a Palm d'Or, and a zillion film festival awards.

The National Film Board has just released a stunning, seven-DVD set of McLaren's work, titled Norman McLaren: The Master's Edition. It's my vote for the best DVD release of the year, well worth the $90 price tag (buy it on Amazon).

The NFB has also created a mini-site about the life and work of McLaren, and put some of his films online.

(P.S. The public radio program Off-Ramp recently aired a nice appreciation of McLaren).

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at October 24, 2006 09:49 PM