Norman McLaren

film 21 of 24

Animated Motion, pt. 4

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 10, 2015

The disc becomes a rod, and we get a demonstration of rotation and travel, as they relate to each other. We learn that animation of particular parts of an object (“jointing and pivoting of parts”) is extremely important, since this is how humans and animals move. Then a charming, poignant demonstration, and the idea that “Careful calibrating is essential to portraying the precise emotion of each action.” Briefly, a stunning still showing the calibrations required to show a man jumping off a stool. (cf. Duchamps’ A Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.) This definitively whimsical filmmaker is, in the last account, an engineer.

McLaren and Munro end with the problem of strobing, and how reduced tempo or milder colour contrasts eliminate it. All of this is an excellent, a humbling demonstration of how the practitioner—or maybe this kind of practitioner—is essential for any kind of theoretical advancement or elaboration. I’m thinking of this idea of abstractions that become animated, meaning not only by movement, but by a spirit. I’m thinking of Wassily Kandinsky, or even of movement upon the face of great waters.