Two semi-nude men dance together in a classic ballet piece. A testamentary film, an artistic coming-out, Narcissus closes in a queer fashion the trajectory of oneiric, heterosexual dancing sequences choreographed in SFX by McLaren in his previous experimental shorts Pas de Deux (1967) and Ballet Adagio (1971). Defined by Thomas Waugh as “the final rendition of the animator’s same-sex pas de deux performed not through special effects but in the in pro-filmic flesh,” Narcissus signals the passage from McLaren’s fascination with the human body in (stop)motion to the depiction of the homoerotic entanglement of male bodies dancing in unison. Abandoning the traditional techniques of pixilation and optical printing that allowed McLaren to deal with male-male desire in his previous films (i.e. Neighbours), Narcissus is thus for Waugh the film that above all others gives “teleological shape” to a career otherwise carried out in (forced) silence.
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