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A Chairy Tale

(Il était une chaise)

Year: 1957
Language: English
Format: 35mm Black & White
Runtime: 10 min
Director: Claude Jutra, Norman McLaren
Executive Producer: Tom Daly
Animation: Evelyn Lambart
Sound: Joseph Champagne
Music: Maurice Blackburn, Ravi Shankar, Chatur Lal
Cast: Claude Jutra
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

Norman McLaren used the pixillation stop-action technique (which he earlier employed to such great effect in Neighbours) to tell the amusing, surrealistic fable of a young man (Claude Jutra) who struggles to sit on a chair (animated by Evelyn Lambart) that refuses to cooperate. Only when the man allows it to sit on him does the chair finally relent. The film’s message of compromise and cooperation – and its moral that acts of kindness and understanding are more effective than attempts at domination and the imposition of one’s will – recalls Aesop, but its wit and marvellous sense of timing are classic McLaren.

A Chairy Tale won a Canadian Film Award for Best Arts and Experimental Film, as well as a BAFTA Special Award, and earned an Academy Award® nomination for Live Action Short Subject.