England's Answer to Walt Disney

Posted Thursday 22 Sep 2016





The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Len Lye Foundation and Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision launches the first comprehensive DVD collection of experimental films by Len Lye available in New Zealand.

Colour Box: 19 Films by Len Lye presents the largest and most complete collection of work by the New Zealand-born master of 'direct' animation and as Time magazine put it, "England's answer to Walt Disney".

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Simon Rees says this DVD is an essential resource for cinephiles and fans of Lye's work, presenting masterpieces across Lye's pioneering career in film. It includes his first film Tusalava (1929) through to the masterpiece 'scratch' films Free Radicals (1958) and Particles in Space (1979).

Film Historian, Len Lye biographer and Len Lye Foundation trustee Professor Emeritus Roger Horrocks says "this DVD is the biggest collection of Lye's films ever released - 19 films, made between 1929 to 1979 - and it makes a great case for him to be seen as the most entertaining and most original film-maker that New Zealand has produced".

All four GPO films are included in Colour Box: 19 Films by Len Lye - the titular A Colour Box (1935), Rainbow Dance (1936), N or NW (1937) and Trade Tattoo (1937). The DVD presents these and other 1930s animations alongside early stop-motion films Experimental Animation (1933) and Birth of a Robot (1936). Several lesser-known films appear in restored form, including Life's Musical Minute (1953) and the majestic All Souls Carnival (1957).

The New Zealand audiovisual archive Ng? Taonga Sound and Vision is the home of Len Lye's film and has been working with the Len Lye Foundation since 1993 to care for and share his work.

Ng? Taonga worked with the support of the Museum of Modern Art and the British Film Institute, carrying out extensive technical work to source, check, compare and preserve high quality copies of several of the 19 films for the DVD.

This DVD project is a collaboration between Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, Ng? Taonga Sound and Vision and the Len Lye Foundation, and was assisted by the Technix Group Ltd and the Stout Trust.

The DVD Colour Box: 19 Films by Len Lye is available from the Govett-Brewster Shop and online at govettbrewster.com for NZ$30.