Cannes Short Film: Trick Your Eyes with Norman McLaren’s Trippy ‘Blinkity Blank’

By  · Published on May 15th, 2013

Why Watch? For starters, today begins the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and this trippy short won the short film Palme d’Or back in 1955. Blinkity Blank is one of Canadian animator Norman McLaren’s more charismatic experimental works, designed to play with persistence of vision. He scratched all of these strange little images directly onto black film leader, and accompanied them with scratches he added to the film’s optical soundtrack. Those odd noises were then added to Maurice Blackburn’s experimental jazz soundtrack.

The colorful shapes resemble abstract forms as well as the occasional bird, a favorite subject of McLaren’s. There also a number of blank frames, which he described as “sprinkling on the empty band of time.” Sometimes the shapes combine and grow, sometimes they erase one another. This fluid and immaterial rhythms of light grab fleetingly at the eye, and haunt your vision quite literally for the slightest of instants. Turn off the lights, full-screen the video and give it a shot.

What Will It Cost? About 5 minutes.

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