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Film / Pas de deux

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Pas de Deux is a 1968 short film (12 minutes) by Norman Mc Laren, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is an experimental film blurring live action and animation. It starts with a female ballet dancer (Margaret Mercier). She dances alone for a while, until she is joined by a male dancer (Vincent Warren), who must pull her attention away from herself and win her.

McLaren's innovative technique for this short involved taking multiple prints of the film and staggering the frames of the various prints out. He then optically printed the various prints together into a single exposed film. The result is a dreamlike image that resembles a stroboscopic effect, in which multiple images of both dancers can be seem at the same time, following each other in waves.


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Tropes:

  • Chiaroscuro: Taken to the limit, with brightly lit dancers clad in white photographed against a solid back background, making for sharp contrasts. Some of the images rather resemble X-rays.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Black and white, allowing for the high-contrast Chiaroscuro effect.
  • Fanservice: Yes, there's the surreal, dreamlike imagery, but there's also two extremely attractive people in tight ballet suits.
  • Mating Dance: Once the man enters the picture it becomes this. Finally he succeeds in winning her, as the dance and the film ends with them embracing and looking into each other's eyes.
  • Silence Is Golden: Only a pan flute soundtrack.
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