Rainbow Dance

by Lye, Len

Film: 35mm 1936

other: see notes

Post Office savings film. A man appears as a silhouette performing numerous actions against stylised backgrounds. The original black and white footage was transformed by Lye into a complex of colour patterns by the manipulation of the three matrices of Gasparcolor system. "Rainbow Dance is deliberately boisterous and amusing. The images bounce along in a cascade of abstract stripes and cross hatched strokes, filling in the background to live film of a walker with an umbrella who becomes a tennis player [...]. Yet, for all the exuberance of the film, it is the result of a carefully planned and executed travelling matte technique. This is achieved through a series of negative and positive images which by masking allow the separation of a figure from its surroundings so that a new background can be added or the figure given a new colour or texture." Malcolm Le Grice, Abstract Film and Beyond, 1977.

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Funder: GPO Film Unit


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