I was in high school in the mid 90s when I first saw Norm McLaren’s short film Neighbours. When the lights came up, the teacher asked us when we though the movie had been made and the median answer was 1975. It’s safe to say that we were all in shock at discovering that the film was over 40 years old.
McLaren was an animation genius, a Canadian treasure and icon recognized the world over and though we’ll never see a new project from the master and the National Film Board is doing an excellent job of preserving his memory and body of work, it looks like the world will never forget his contribution to the film, animation and culture.
UNESCO Memory of the World Register aims to preserve and disseminate valuable archive holdings and library collections throughout the world. The registry, which includes includes works such as the Gutenberg Bible and the films Metropolis and The Wizard of Oz, recently added an additional batch of films and among them is McLaren’s classic Neighbours. Not only is this huge news for McLaren and the NFB but for Canada as a whole as this is only the third Canadian entry into the registry.
If, by some freak disaster, you have never seen the film in question, I’ve tucked it under the seat for your viewing pleasure.