Friday, July 1, 2016

Short Subject: Neighbours (1952)



If every one of his films was burning in a fire Norman McLaren said this is one he would want to save.


I can see why as it has a very striking message about loving your neighbour rather than making war with them.  Obviously a political message given when it was made, but it’s still a timeless moral, nicely accented by that fact that he puts the message in several languages at the end so he was certainly practicing what he preached by being inclusive.

The soundtrack for me takes a bit of getting used to simply because it’s not a traditional soundtrack with actual music it was scratched directly onto the film itself, one of the trademarks of McLaren along with pixilation, the style of animation used for this short.  I love that choice too because it allows for funny slapstick do the choppy nature of this animation style and then goes into this dark creepy turn as with each hit the men’s faces distort taking this into a brutal reality.  It further reinforces that with the death of the wives and children and the trampling of the flower, the very thing they were fighting over in the first place and demonstrates the senselessness of conflict.

This is a great short well worth checking out for its unique look, sound, and positive message.

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