Weekend Tune: Worthy Canadian Initiative

20 Jan

“Worthy Canadian Initiative” was… famously… the winning entry in the New Republic magazine’s contest for most boring headline in the world.

And… famously… many Canadian initiatives are worthy.

And many worthy ones are boring.

Canadians themselves are often worthy… and boring.

But many famous Canadians are worthy of different reputations.

Take this Canadian creative genius. Oscar Peterson’s recent passing was mourned around the world – musical and otherwise. In a taped statement at his recent memorial concert, Stevie Wonder called him the “world’s greatest pianist”.

Not too boring. But very worthy of the praise. And Canadian, too.

Another Canadian creative genius was Norman McLaren, who passed away two decades ago. His work at the National Film Board of Canada made him one of the most influential and innovative animators of his generation.

McLaren’s most famous film – known to every Canadian school-kid – was his Oscar-winning pixillated classic from 1952, “Neighbours“.

But pixillation was not McLaren’s only innovative technique. He made a number of amazing films without the use of a camera, by painting, scratching and / or drawing images directly onto the film stock.

The most famous of these films was a worthy Canadian initiative: “Begone Dull Care” – a 1949 collaboration with fellow Canadian creative genius Oscar Peterson.

I post the film here with one caveat: It doesn’t look nearly as amazing online (especially if your connection speed is slow) as it does the way nature intended – in a darkened theater on film. If you get the opportunity to see it that way, grab it. It’s the only worthy way to appreciate this abstract expressionist painting come to life:


2 Responses to “Weekend Tune: Worthy Canadian Initiative”

  1. sindark January 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm #

    As a former Canadian schoolchild, I have no recollection of McLaren’s film. That said, the only National Film Board productions I recall in any detail are the animated verson of “The Cat Came Back” and “The Log Driver’s Waltz.”

  2. Alan Echenberg January 21, 2008 at 6:27 pm #

    Really? It used to air on CBC-TV all the time when I was a school-kid… back in the dark ages when CBC was one of the few stations you could catch in Canada.

    Maybe I’m just getting old.

    The two NFB cartoons you mention were also perennial Canadian TV faves way back when. And don’t forget this one:

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