Who's Who in Frame by Frame
Learn more about Norman McLaren and his collaborators - the characters featured in Robert Lepage and Guillaume Côté's multidisciplinary production.
Norman McLaren (1914 – 1987)
The legendary Canadian filmmaker and animator, Norman McLaren set new standards for his art form throughout his long and illustrious career, primarily at the National Film Board of Canada. Best-known for his Academy Award-winning film Neighbours (1952), his ground-breaking dance film Pas de deux, the creation of new forms of animation and his pioneering work in electronic music, McLaren created works of unparalleled visual brilliance, which continue to influence filmmakers the world over.
Guy Glover (1910 – 1988)
Guy Glover was Norman McLaren’s life partner from 1937 until McLaren’s death. Mr. Glover was an actor and director in theatre and television in London in the 1930s and would be a significant influence on McLaren’s knowledge of and feelings about dance. Often a judge at ballet festivals, he played an important role in the establishment of Canada Council funding for professional dance in Canada. Mr. Glover became a senior producer at the National Film Board of Canada and would be the key sounding board for McLaren in the making of his three dance films: Pas de deux, Ballet Adagio and Narcissus.
Grant Munro (1923 – 2017)
Grant Munro was a Canadian filmmaker and animator. He was a protégé of Norman McLaren and collaborated closely with him on several of his films, most famously in Neighbours where he played one of the two protagonists. He was one of the earliest and longest-serving members of the National Film Board of Canada, making films full of innovation and wit, which have influenced other filmmakers.
Jean-Paul Ladouceur (1921 – 1992)
Jean-Paul Ladouceur, a graduate of l'École des beaux-arts de Montréal, was one of the first young artists hired by McLaren when he founded the NFB Animation Studio in January 1943. He would become famous as one of the two protagonists, along with Grant Munro, in McLaren's celebrated Neighbours. He held many positions at the National Film Board of Canada and CBC Radio Canada including animator, designer, presenter and screenwriter and was also a celebrated visual artist.
John Grierson (1898 – 1972)
Scotsman John Grierson is known as the father of the social documentary and he also coined the term “documentary”. In 1938, Mr. Grierson came to Canada to advise the Canadian government on film policy. One consequence was the National Film Board of Canada and Grierson would be the first commissioner. In the war years, Grierson created the ethos that still drives the National Film Board of Canada and has made it a major world force in documentary and animation film. Mr. Grierson believed that one could be both “a public servant and an artist” and so he brought to Canada Norman McLaren whom he had discovered as a student in Glasgow in 1936.
Evelyn Lambart (1914 – 1999)
Evelyn Lambart was a Canadian animator and director with the National Film Board of Canada. She was Norman McLaren’s filmmaking partner for 21 years, collaborating on films such as Begone Dull Care, A Chairy Tale, Rythmetic and Mosaic. She also made several of her own films and perfected the animation technique of hinged metal cut-outs made from lithograph plate which she would then paint and animate. Ms. Lambart used this technique in seven award-winning films.
Oscar Peterson (1925 – 2007)
Oscar Peterson was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards and received numerous other awards and honours. He is considered one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists and played thousands of concerts worldwide in a career spanning more than 60 years. Norman McLaren’s 1948 film Begone Dull Care was created, to quote McLaren as “a visual expression of the spirit of Peterson’s music.”
Maurice Blackburn (1914 – 1988)
Maurice Blackburn was a Canadian composer, who composed a multitude of scores for the National Film Board of Canada films, some for Norman McLaren. Experimental by nature, his soundtracks took many forms including musique concrete. Mr. Blackburn composed the music for McLaren’s animation film Blinkity Blank in 1954 which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In this, the score was built around the element of chance in the performance.
René Jodoin (1920 – 2015)
René Jodoin, whom Norman McLaren labelled “the National Film Board of Canada philosopher” joined the Board in 1943. Another protégé of McLaren, he was an animation director who worked in the Board’s original animation unit and Science Unit, until he founded the French-language animation studio of the National Film Board of Canada in 1966. A teacher by temperament, he made vibrant films on geometry and the jet engine that fulfilled the Mr. Grierson dictum of being both public service and art. Mr. Jodoin also produced the first computer-made films at the Board.
Ludmilla Chiriaeff (1924 – 1996)
Ludmilla Chiriaeff is popularly considered the godmother of ballet in Québec. A dancer, choreographer and teacher, she founded Montréal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Académie des Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1958, followed by l'École supérieure de danse du Québec in 1966. She choreographed for several shows on CBC Television in the 1950s and was the choreographer of Norman McLaren’s ground-breaking film Pas de deux in 1966. Of collaborating with McLaren Ms. Chiriaeff memorably said, “When you work with McLaren, you enter Norman’s Land.”
Margaret Mercier (1937 – )
Margaret Mercier is a celebrated Canadian actress and ballet dancer and was featured in Norman McLaren’s film Pas de deux. She danced with London’s Sadler’s Wells (later The Royal Ballet), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and The Joffrey Ballet among others. She is also a renowned teacher and has taught at the Royal Ballet School, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and The Royal Danish Ballet.
Vincent Warren (1938 – 2017)
Vincent Warren was an acclaimed Canadian ballet dancer and teacher. He was featured in Norman McLaren’s film Pas de deux and worked with McLaren on all the tests for his film Narcissus. For both McLaren and Mr. Warren, there was a profound meeting of minds. Mr. Warren danced with Metropolitan Opera Ballet from 1957 to 1959 and joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1961 where he danced for 18 years. After his distinguished stage career, Mr. Warren became widely known and respected as a historian and archivist and was celebrated as a leading figure in the Canadian dance world.