Cannes to Salute McLaren

Famed Canadian experimental animator Norman McLaren will be remembered with a special retrospective screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Marking the first time the Cannes Classics feature has focused on an animator, the event will include a selection of 13 McLaren films in celebration of 65 years of animation at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Scottish-born McLaren founded the animation department at the NFB, where he directed 60 films, including the Oscar-winning Neighbours (1952) and Pas de deux (1968). Both films will be included in the retrospective, along with Blinkity Blank, which won McLaren the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1955. The program will also feature the shorts Stars and Stripes (1940), Mail Early (1941), Hen Hop (1942), La poulette grise (1947), Begone Dull Care (1949), Neighbours (1952), A Chairy Tale (1957), Le merle (1958), Opening Speech: McLaren (1961), Lines Horizontal (1962) Pas de deux (1968) and Synchromy (1971).

‘McLaren’s genius continues to amaze us,’ says Jacques Bensimon, government film commissioner and chairperson of the NFB. ‘Every film in this program underscores the groundbreaking artistry and exceptional diversity of this great animation pioneer. We at the NFB are delighted to witness the return of McLaren’s masterpieces to the Cannes Film Festival, particularly since they are so in tune with the spirit of the Cannes Classics section, a fulcrum of film heritage.’

The screening will run approximately 90 minutes in the Bu’uel room on May 22 at 5 p.m. The NFB will then release in France a new DVD compilation of McLaren’s complete works on June 1. For more information on the NFB or to order films, go to www.nfb.ca.