Page Facebook de Films pour enfants

Norman McLaren's films

Abstraction in the service of children's art education.

Preview of Norman McLaren's short films

Norman McLaren, © ONF
Watch Norman McLaren's film on dance: Boogie-Doodle
An animated film without the use of a camera. "Boogie" and "doodle" come together for a colourful rhythmic experience.
3 min 21 s


Norman McLaren, © ONF
Regardez le film expérimental de Norman McLaren sur l'abstraction : Dots
Red and blue. Sound and visuals created directly on film.
2 min 24 s


Norman McLaren, © ONF
See Norman McLaren's abstract experimental short film: Fiddle-de-dee
Ripples, shimmers and violins. The dance of colours.
3 min 23 s


Norman McLaren, © ONF
Watch Norman McLaren's abstract film: Blinkity Blank
Spasmodic imagery: the director plays with persistence of vision and burns the images on a blank film.
5 min 17 s

Blinkity Blank

Norman McLaren, © ONF
Watch the cut-out animation for children: The blackbird
Famous choreography of a paper cut-out bird, very original, to make children discover the different parts of the body of the animals like the beak, the neck or the legs...
4 min 43 s

Le Merle

Norman McLaren, © ONF
Abstraction for children. Watch Norman McLaren's film: Short and Suite
A masterpiece of abstraction by the great master of animation. A cocktail of colours to make children want to draw and make films.
5 min

Short and Suite

Norman McLaren, © ONF
Watch the abstract short film for children: Pas de deux
Experimental film, choreography between two stars of the Ballets Canadiens: ballerina Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren. Dressed in white, the two artists dance in the dark.
13 min 34 s

Pas de deux

Norman McLaren, © ONF
Abstraction for children. Watch Norman McLaren's abstract film: Synchromy
A true synchronisation of image and sound.
5 min


The children's films we select have not been specially created for them. We propose short films that children at school or in the family do not easily have the opportunity to discover, but which are perfectly adapted to young people. The films of the Canadian director Norman McLaren are a very good example of this.

Presentation of the director

McLaren (1914-1987), considered one of the great masters of animation, was a very inventive filmmaker. He paid particular attention to rhythm and movement and experimented with many techniques such as film scratching, film painting, live action, stop motion, pixilation and animation.

In the film "Dots", for example, he drew the images and sounds directly onto the film with a pen, without a camera or recording device.

Great master of world animation

Director and animator, Oscar winner in 1953 with the film "Voisins" (Oscar for best short documentary), a major figure in the animation scene.

L'office national du film du canada
© National Film Board of Canada

He worked at the National Film Board of Canada (nfb) between 1941 and 1983 and made nearly 60 films at the forefront of cinema, infused with painting, music, dance and movement. His films were added to UNESCO's Memory of the World in 2009.

To see some of the director's short films for free, you can visit the website of the National Film Board of Canada.

Why are Norman McLaren's films suitable for younger children?

Norman McLaren did not make his animated films for children but rather in an experimental context and his films are not narrative but plastic, musical and abstract.

However, experimental film is not incompatible with children's film and the poetry of the films is conducive to wonder and artistic awakening.

The play of colours, shapes and sounds, the originality of the music, allow the discovery of different worlds and give the children the desire to experiment.

Children's apps

The NFB has created a great application: "McLaren's Workshop". You can watch 51 classics and 11 documentaries for free.

Children will be able to make their own animated films using the original paper elements and backgrounds created by his classic blackbird.

Download the McLaren's Workshop application
Download the Atelier McLaren application
Contact us

Did your students enjoy Norman McLaren's short films? Have you studied a film in class, an abstract animation sequence, a film about dance? Do you know other experimental filmmakers who work on rhythm, movement, the relationship between images and music? Abstract films, films about dance?
Help us discover other short films like "Pas de deux", "Boogie-Doodle" or "Le Merle"!
UNESCO French Ministry of National Education