The surreal story of a bird and its cage with both their conflict and union.

Director:

Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Tango (1981)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Subsequent characters appear in a poorly-decorated room, intertwining but never colliding, all possessed by never-ending rituals.

Director: Zbigniew Rybczynski
Neighbours (1952)
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A surreal story of two neighbours' destructive feud over a flower.

Director: Norman McLaren
Stars: Grant Munro, Jean Paul Ladouceur
Animation | Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Abstract images drawn directly onto the film are accompanied by three pieces of jazz performed by the Oscar Peterson trio.

Directors: Evelyn Lambart, Norman McLaren
Ruka (1965)
Animation | Short | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A happy little potter is approached by a huge hand which wants him to sculpt its statue. The potter refuses, wanting nothing more than to be left alone with his only friend, a potted plant.... See full summary »

Director: Jirí Trnka
Pas de deux (1968)
Animation | Short | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two ballet dancers perform a dance enhanced with surreal multi and after-image effect visuals.

Director: Norman McLaren
Stars: Margaret Mercier, Vincent Warren
The Street (1976)
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

This film deals with a Jewish family in Montreal, Canada as they care for a dying grandmother and the young boy who is impatient to get the room he was promised as soon as she kicks the ... See full summary »

Director: Caroline Leaf
Stars: Mort Ransen, Sarah Dwight, John Hood
Dots (1940)
Short | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An experimental film of dots animated by being drawn directly on filmstock.

Director: Norman McLaren
A Colour Box (1935)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Animated shapes dance to Cuban music. This was one of the first animations to be painted directly onto the film.

Director: Len Lye
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cowboy seeks to rescue, then woo, a damsel in distress. But he is constantly thwarted by the scratches, breaks, and other imperfections present in the film print itself.

Director: Osamu Tezuka
Mindscape (1976)
Animation | Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An artist creates a painting of the landscape he sees, then finds he can literally climb into the picture to see the fantastic world inside.

Director: Jacques Drouin
A Chairy Tale (1957)
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An ordinary-looking chair refuses to be sat upon.

Directors: Claude Jutra, Norman McLaren
Stars: Claude Jutra
Animation | Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A father says goodbye to his young daughter. Time passes and the daughter moves through life age by age, but within her there is always a deep longing for her father.

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Edit

Storyline

Before our very eyes, the vibrant and colourful juxtaposition of composer Maurice Blackburn's experimental jazz with animator Norman McLaren's whimsical and erratic animation of abstract forms unfolds. As a result, trees, birds and fruits combined with vivid intermittent shapes of dots and lines, comprise a riotous imagery that haunts human vision, creating a fleeting optical phantasmagoria. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Animation | Short

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 April 1955 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mrugniecia  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in The Eye Hears, the Ear Sees (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Images of jazz
14 January 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The idea of creating visuals to match existing music was certainly not a new one, either in animation {see Disney's wonderful 'Fantasia (1940)'} or live-action {see Jean Mitry's 'Pacific 231 (1949)'}. With 'Blinkity Blank (1955),' offbeat Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren offers his own bizarre take on the technique, matching simple two-dimensional images (etched directly onto the cell print) to some classy jazz music by Maurice Blackburn. The idea, I must admit, works better in theory than in execution. I liked how McLaren attempted to replicate the subtle musical melodies using purely visual cues, in effect the closest a deaf person will ever get to hearing the music for himself. But he doesn't quite pull it off. McLaren's primitive etched outlines, depicting anything from birds to umbrellas, communicate the tempo of the music, but not the emotion. It takes a masterpiece like 'Fantasia,' with its breathtaking Technicolor animation and gentle pacing, to achieve this aim most completely.

Contrary to my first impressions, apparently there is a story behind the animation in 'Blinkity Blank' – something to do with a bird and its cage. However, I was too busy nursing a migraine to worry too much about these details. McLaren's animation flashes in and out of frame, flickering like a strobe light, and I found it almost maddening to keep my eyes open. Had the film simply been dull or monotonous, I should still have admired the craftsmanship, which, despite the rudimentary animation, must have taken a lot of work. However, once again, it gave me a splitting headache {the first film to do so since the latest Bond flick, 'Quantum of Solace (2008)'}, and I just can't support a film that inflicted pain upon me. My relationship so far with Norman McLaren has been an ambiguous one. While I found 'Pas de deux (1968)' to be absolutely mesmerising, I was pretty much indifferent to his most famous short, 'Neighbours (1952).' Given time, I'm sure that I'll find at least another of his films that I love.


1 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page