Friday, May 13, 2005

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

1926, Dir Lotte Reiniger
65 minutes, black + white silhouette animation

I am so sorry it took me so long to see The Adventures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger. The exquisite silhouettes and the tints of the restored print now available on DVD captivated my family, my kids stayed up past their bedtime to see the whole thing. My daughter fell asleep during the little biopic about Reiniger that follows, but the rest of us were rapt at the story of this woman who single-handedly (literally—she did all the silhouette cutting) pioneered the animated film and invented the silhouette film, supported enthusiastically by her husband, Carl Koch and three other men who formed her production team. Their collaboration and their vibrant cultural life led to friendships with Jean Renoir and Bertolt Brecht. Racial stereotyping of the villains necessitates some discussion.

Recommended for all ages.

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