Margaret Tait (1918-1999)
John Macfadyen (The Stripes in the Tartan) (1970)
John MacFadyen (1970) is one of three abstract films made by Margaret Tait over a period of fifteen years from 1955 to 1970. Production was a meticulous, time-consuming process, comprising painting directly onto clear 35mm film stock, frame by frame. Each frame was hand painted in deep, rich colours, typically taking the appearance of a washed background with animated forms and figures in the foreground, dancing roughly in time to traditional ceilidh music on the soundtrack.

It is a visual world of non-representational shapes, colours, and forms, which does not seek to portray reality but instead focuses on the interplay of form and rhythm. In this respect the film resembles the experimental idiom of 'cinema-pur' (pure cinema) of 1920s France, but has a particular Scottish flair. Kenneth Broom