Freeze Frame: ‘Neighbours’

(dir. Norman McLaren, 1952)
Courtesy of the NFB

Soon after World War Two ended, India and Pakistan erupted in violence, and not much later so did Israel and the rest of the Middle East. In 1950, the Korean War began. Norman McLaren, a pacifist, was so revolted by the state of the world that he created Neighbours, his sardonic look at the appallingly aggressive way we live. Using what he called “pixilation”—really stop-motion animation—live actors and an electronic score, he directed an Oscar winner—in the documentary category. You might call it the first Canadian doc hybrid and it’s still one of the best.

Neighbours, Norman McLaren, provided by the National Film Board of Canada