From the playlist : Norman McLaren: Hands-on Animation
This is not a film record of a dance. The choreography, per se, is not memorable. The important thing is that the choreography was created strictly for McLaren to work with on the optical camera. There he transformed the dance into something of heart-stopping beauty – technology at the service of art.
What McLaren did was multiply the imagery up to eleven times, each of eleven passes staggered by a few frames. The dancers are followed by his and her own waves. The story is the old one of Narcissus. In this case, it is a female Narcissus, in love with her own self, until a young man appears and wins her. For McLaren, it fulfilled a need to make a plea that we must look outside ourselves and love others – the same theme which underlay his anti-war film, Neighbours. It was a very difficult film to dance, since Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren had to dance in almost total blackness with only side lighting. The soundtrack is fascinating. Maurice Blackburn took a two-and-a-half-minute pan pipe recording and by looping the music with the addition of a harp stretched the music to 13 minutes. Otherworldly music for otherworldly imagery.
— Donald McWilliams