Short Film of the Day: ‘Neighbours’

March 26, 2020

Neighbours (or Voisins, in French) was created in 1952 by Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren, for the National Film Board of Canada. Combining stop-motion animation, variable-speed photography and traditional live-action cinematography, the film is a darkly powerful indictment of a world that too often resorts to war to solve its problems.

The movie is also experimental, and not just in its use of visuals, as the soundtrack was created by scratching or otherwise damaging the edge of the film itself. When projected, that damage produced a unique score.

Neighbours was nominated for two Oscars: short subject (one reel) and short documentary. It won the latter category, though it is not a doc. (Perhaps the Academy put it in that category because they considered it a sort of PSA.)

As the world comes together to battle the coronavirus, Neighbours seems particularly important. Perhaps, once this crisis passes, it will encourage all of my Democratic friends to hug a Republican. (Yes, even Trump.) And I hope my Republican friends will hug a Democrat. (Yes, even James Carville.)

For more information on this film, visit Wikipedia.