Hen Hop

  • ONFB,
  • ,
  • 3 min 40 s

This joyful short animation features a dancing hen that transforms into an egg. The film was made without a camera by Norman McLaren, who drew directly onto 35 mm movie stock with ordinary pen and ink. Colour was added optically.

From the playlist : Norman McLaren: Hands-on Animation

I met McLaren in 1968. I soon understood that the frequency of birds, chickens and chickens’ feet in his films was no accident. He identified with birds, particularly chickens. I was very puzzled and asked his friend Evelyn Lambart about it. She looked at me with astonishment. “We’re all an animal. I’m a horse. What are you?” I was speechless for perhaps a minute. Then I saw. “You’re right, Evelyn. I’m a squirrel.” I would then see that McLaren’s animation of chicken movements and behaviour had much in common with his own movements and behaviour. Knowing he was a hen made it easier to work with him. Hen Hop features a dancing hen. McLaren told me that he pretended the hen was Fred Astaire.

— Donald McWilliams

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