20 user 2 critic

Pas de deux (1968)

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


Norman McLaren
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Margaret Mercier Margaret Mercier ... Dancer
Vincent Warren ... Dancer


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

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G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Created using an optical printer to reprint images from one frame onto another. See more »

User Reviews

Yes, this is one of the great Canadian shorts.
19 August 2002 | by fiddybopSee all my reviews

Yes, this is one of the great Canadian shorts, etc. etc.

I'm more interested in why someone could find this film boring, insisting that one had to have an interest in the dance and/or music in order to find something to like about it.

I'm not a "dance person" myself and in fact admittedly rarely have anything to do with dance performance, dance films, etc. This film is not about the dancing, though.

It's about human movement in particular, with the form of this dance being used as a means to a much more imaginative end. By utilizing dance as a mode of discovering the beauty of human grace and movement, McLaren can explore these movements in fascinating ways, using optical printing to trail print or multiple-expose their movements, using still imagery as well.

The result is an effect of three-dimensionalizing the movements (not the dancers, who are obviously already 3-D) - giving substance and shape to otherwise intangible, time-sensitive events. This film is just as incredible and breathtaking as the chrono-photographs of Etienne Jules-Marey, and in fact Pas de Deux is very much a brother of Marey's work. McLaren even lit his dancers similarly to Marey's subjects, to get an almost line-drawing effect from his subjects.

To dwell on the dance itself and whether or not you "like it" is completely missing the point of McLaren's filmmaking and artistry here. He had an incredible sense of the potential for movement and beauty, often to be found in unique and unlikely places.

See this film at all costs and try to look beyond the dance content/music content (if that bothers you), and you will hopefully find that Norman McLaren created a masterpiece in his exploration of time and motion, mined entirely from the particularly graceful movements of ballet dancers.

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Release Date:

October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ballerina Margaret Mercer See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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