So, one of my favorite things about Norman McLaren's work, is his ability to reach the widest possible audience and appeal to many different people and cultures. One of the ways he accomplished this, was through the avoidance of language. Aside from credits and occasional onomatopoeia, McLaren tried to keep his films free from the exclusivity involved with language***. He realized that everyone in the world had the ability to create a relationship between sound and vision, whether it was a narrative film ("A Chairy Tale") or more of an abstract statement ("Lines Horizontal"); language was not needed to get a point across for someone as visually innovative as Norman McLaren. Even in his short "Opening Speech" which was for the first Montreal Internation Film Festival, McLaren never said anything more than "Madames est Messeurs" before his microphone developed it's own agenda... : ]
***(discluding the commissioned pieces he did specifically for television spots, like "La Merde".)
McLaren was in a never-ending state of evolution and experimentation.
From creating an audio soundtrack by scratching directly onto the optical track....
To exercising a beautiful eye for surreal imagery....
McLaren tried everything he was able to.
The work he produced in his 40 years with the NFB ranges from Canadian
public service announcements to "Keep Your Mouth Shut" (to stop people
from gossiping during WWII), to creating incredibly complex abstract
animations that are the perfect synthesis of sound and vision.