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Begone Dull Care
September 6, 2006 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Norman McLaren's Masterpiece with music by Oscar Peterson. Each frame of this short was scratched directly onto the film in order to be in perfect synch with the pre-recorded soundtrack. This has been discussed before here and more generally here but I haven't seen this online until now. More on Norman McLaren.
posted by ob (34 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reminds me of something else, though I can't remember what it was called. It was a film by two guys (brothers, twins maybe?) entirely made out of dots painted directly onto the celluloid. Does anyone know the title? (1960's) It's worth seeing -- the mind boggles at the concentration/dedication it would have taken to create.
posted by popcassady at 7:23 AM on September 6, 2006


it is gone
posted by johnny novak at 7:26 AM on September 6, 2006


Not when I clicked on it. In fact I also watched McClaren's Neighbours at the same time. Amazing stuff.
posted by Grangousier at 7:45 AM on September 6, 2006


I just checked the link and it works for me... Actually it's a shame that it's not better quality but that's you tube for you!
posted by ob at 7:52 AM on September 6, 2006


Terrific (and needless to say, I approve of the multilingual credits)—thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 7:57 AM on September 6, 2006


What a synchronicity! My husband Keith watched most of McLaren's marvelous shorts yesterday to prep for teaching an animation class. Even after decades of digital animation, McLaren's techniques and visual poetry still look fresh and innovative.

FYI, McLaren was a natural-born synaesthete who saw colors when he heard music -- an obvious influence on his films. He was also gay and out of the closet at a time when that was highly unusual.

Few people know this, but McLaren's shorts were also a huge influence on the young George Lucas, which I talked about in depth in my profile of Lucas for Wired in 2005.
posted by digaman at 8:01 AM on September 6, 2006


Great article digaman I didn't know that about George Lucas. I did know that McLaren had synaesthesia, and to me Begone Dull Care is almost a homage to the condition. As a composer I come at this film from another perspective. When I hear music I 'see' musical notation in various forms and it's quite amazing to me how close his visualizations come to mine.
posted by ob at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2006


By the way, I wouldn't say that Begone Dull Care is McLaren's one masterpiece. Neighbours and Pas De Deux are masterpieces too.
posted by digaman at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2006


Fascinating, ob.
posted by digaman at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2006


Oh yeah, I didn't mean to say that it was his only masterpiece, it's just that for me everything is perfect in Begone Dull Care, albeit from my extremely subjective perspective...
posted by ob at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2006


I didn't know McLaren had synaesthesia. That does explain a lot.

McLaren is one of my favorite animators of all time. A stone-cold Genius.

Norman McLaren: The Collector's Edition
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:37 AM on September 6, 2006


Another brilliant Canadian filmmaker who has been nearly forgotten was Arthur Lipsett. (There are encrypted Lipsett references scattered throughout George Lucas' films, as I talk about in the Wired piece.) A marvelous documentary on Lipsett called "Remembering Arthur" is coming out soon [YouTube link] from Canadian documentarian Dennis Mohr. Lipsett's profoundly moving "21-87," which I successfully convinced the National Film Board of Canada to put back in circulation on DVD, is one of my very favorite pieces of cinema.
posted by digaman at 8:42 AM on September 6, 2006


"21-87" may be available for purchase here. Its availability for individual purchase has been unreliable, but see it if you can.
posted by digaman at 8:46 AM on September 6, 2006


Wow I really want to see "21-87" now. The documentary looks great too.
posted by ob at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2006


I was referring to dull care
posted by johnny novak at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2006


(Sorry to get so deep into the Lipsett drift, but as I mention in the article, Lucas lifted the phrase "the Force" from "21-87," from a scrap of documentary audio that Lipsett found in a trash bin at the National Film Board and used in his own film. I had the extreme pleasure of tracking down Roman Kroiter, whose voice was the original source of the phrase, and telling him -- he had no idea. He's in his 90s now and living in a cabin in rural Canada. He said, "I can't wait to tell my grandchildren!")
posted by digaman at 9:09 AM on September 6, 2006


dull care
posted by johnny novak at 9:15 AM on September 6, 2006


No, I'm now fascinated by the whole Lucas/Lipsett thing. It's always interesting to see how the avant garde and the commercial (for want of a better term) intersect. It's something that I think about in my own work a lot.
posted by ob at 9:56 AM on September 6, 2006


Uh, Johnny Novak what on earth was that link?
posted by ob at 10:06 AM on September 6, 2006


a film ... entirely made out of dots

Is this it?
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:28 AM on September 6, 2006


its' terrible to see this posted on YouTube - royalties anyone? copyright? a brilliant innovator...
posted by hard rain at 11:39 AM on September 6, 2006


a film ... entirely made out of dots

Is this it?


Alas, not.
posted by popcassady at 12:37 PM on September 6, 2006


ob

ask George Bush

;)
posted by johnny novak at 3:38 PM on September 6, 2006


johnny novak: You know, every fucking thing doesn't have to be turned into a political diatribe. Just in case you were wondering.
posted by languagehat at 3:54 PM on September 6, 2006


Brilliant, thank you!
posted by Wolof at 4:59 PM on September 6, 2006


Glorious combination of flicker and synaesthesia, I adore this stuff. Tempts me to make a Brakhage post.

Some more Norman and pals in this post I made a while ago, from the Canadian Animation Board.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:33 PM on September 6, 2006


Ah, I appear to have missed the link to my post. Here's an interesting short essay on Begone Dull Care, instead.

popcassady: Len Lye maybe?
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:47 PM on September 6, 2006


and since when have I been doing that languagehat?
posted by johnny novak at 2:20 AM on September 7, 2006


No, not Len Lye. More like, Linear Dreams.
posted by popcassady at 3:33 AM on September 7, 2006


and since when have I been doing that languagehat?

You've been doing that in this post, which has nothing to do with George Bush or Bohemian Grove. I hate Bush too, but somehow I manage to keep from mentioning the fact in threads about art. But do what you have to do.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 AM on September 7, 2006


MetaMonkey: thanks for the Brakhage links!
posted by ob at 6:05 AM on September 7, 2006


Masterpiece. Right.

What do I need to appreciate this stuff?

More free time and nothing to fill it with?
posted by Laotic at 11:33 AM on September 7, 2006


Well, we're certainly glad you made time for that post, Laotic. Perhaps you can schedule a meeting with some local toddlers to inform them that, in fact, Santa is a convenient fiction.
posted by digaman at 12:59 PM on September 7, 2006


Laotic you've confused ignorant sneering for actually having something to say. An easy mistake to make for which the normal remedy is shutting the fuck up.
posted by ob at 1:33 PM on September 7, 2006


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