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Norman McLaren

Available films

6 of Norman McLaren films are available for viewing in this section.

Title: Canon

Year: 1964

Length: 09 min 13 s

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Synopsis :

Norman McLaren and Grant Munro use three different animation techniques to provide visual representations of canons in a film designed to teach viewers about this ancient musical form. The soundtrack combines both recorded classical music and sounds produced by a synthesizer.


Title: Le merle

Year: 1958

Length: 04 min 39 s

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Synopsis : It’s the story of a bird that loses first its neck, then its eye, back, wings and feet in turn before they return again, but this time doubled or tripled in number. The filmmaker used simple cardboard cut-outs in geometric shapes to illustrate this traditional folk song.


Title: A Chairy Tale

Year: 1957

Length: 09 min 53 s

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Synopsis :

A man’s relationship with a chair becomes a symbol of exploitation in this extraordinary absurdist fantasy directed by Claude Jutra and Norman McLaren. What if the revolt by this inanimate object led to a more egalitarian order of things?


Title: Blinkity Blank

Year: 1955

Length: 05 min 15 s

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Synopsis :

With an explosion of abstract images engraved directly on film, this well-known Norman McLaren film shows bird-like creatures engaged in a strange dance of seduction.


Title: Neighbours

Year: 1952

Length: 08 min 06 s

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Synopsis :

Two neighbours live side by side in harmony until a flower grows on the dividing line between their properties. Who does it belong to? The argument that follows ends up with both neighbours in their graves. The most famous of Norman McLaren’s films popularized pixillation as an animation technique.


Title: Hen Hop

Year: 1942

Length: 03 min 40 s

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Synopsis : After a long sketching session spent capturing the movements of these odd creatures, McLaren made this film of a chicken’s dance by drawing directly on film stock. Hen Hop drew great praise from Pablo Picasso.