The career of director George Dunning will always be summed up with two words: Yellow Submarine. Directing one of the seminal animated features of the 20th century was both his glory and his curse. But Dunning accomplished much more than that. He had a noteworthy career both before and after Yellow Sub, and he is one of the very few artists who can claim to have worked at both the National Film Board of Canada and UPA.

Dunning made Moon Rock in 1970, shortly after completing the Beatles feature. The film challenges the viewer’s perception of time and space, which makes for a simultaneously baffling and exhilarating viewing experience. Historian Giannalberto Bendazzi wrote that in Moon Rock, Dunning “deals with the monsters of mass society and mass media under the cover of a science-fiction theme and a game of bright white hues.”

The film makes (slightly) more sense when one understands that Dunning based it on the concept of lateral thinking, a system of thinking championed by Edward de Bono. Dunning’s message is open to interpretation, but I think that however you chooose to parse its meaning, it’s a beautiful strange trip well worth taking.

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