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Trade Tattoo 1937

  • Len Lye
  • December 31, 1937
  • 5 mins
Trade Tattoo went even further than Rainbow Dance in its manipulation of the Gasparcolor process. The original black and white footage consisted of outtakes from GPO Film Unit documentaries such as Night Mail. Lye transformed this footage in what has been described as the most intricate job of film printing and color grading ever attempted. Animated words and patterns combine with the live-action footage to create images as complex and multi-layered as a Cubist painting. Music was provided by the Cuban Lecuona Band. With its dynamic rhythms, the film seeks (in Lye’s words) to convey “a romanticism about the work of the everyday in all walks of life."

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