Online Exclusive: Norman McLaren rereleases

Few people in the Canadian entertainment world have been able to have such a profound impact as Norman McLaren. To celebrate his achievements, and groundbreaking film design, The National Film Board of Canada is releasing all of McLarens’ fifty-eight films in a complete box set.

Born on April 11, 1914 in Stirling, Scotland, McLaren went through many of the same issues as university students do today. Unable to decide what to pursue in life, McLaren finally settled on studying design at the University of Glasgow, where he developed many of the filmmaking techniques. In 1941, he joined the newborn NFB, where his greatest work came to be. McLaren is known as an inovator, not only for his animation, but due to the fact that his films are accessible to all walks of life.

An example of this can be seen in the Neighbours (which won best short at the Academy Awards in 1953). The now famous short is the true story of two neighbours who are suddenly caught in a conflict over a daisy. The once carefree friends soon destroy each others lives on the basis of greed and jealousy. These messages of greed and friendship still ring true today, 65 years after McLaren first joined the NFB. Of course the actual animation of the films is just as eye catching as the messages they convey. His ability to merge animation, dance and art into one medium is as impressive as it is awe-inspiring for the viewer. Some of the shorts, such as Begone Dull Care, are nothing but an assault of color, and will undoubtedly terrify small children, horrify the elderly and alert the police to potential granola-smoking activities.

McLaren passed away on Jan. 27, 1987, but his legacy will always live, as long as there are those who continue to enjoy his works.

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