Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Rating: 8.1/10
Runtime: 65
Language: German captions; hardcoded English subtitles
Country: Germany
Color: Black and White (tinted and toned)
IMDb Link:

Director: Lotte Reiniger

Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarves is commonly quoted as the first full length animated feature. However, 11 years ago before its release, at the age of 23, Berlin born avant-garde artist Charlotte Reiniger designed the exquisite "silhouette film" The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Loosely based on the 1001 Nights (The Arabian Nights) The Adventures of Prince Achmed deploys elaborate cut-outs, early multiplane camerawork, and experiments with wax and sand to produce an exquisite visual feast. The fantasy world of sorcerers and magic lamps, flying horses and an island lake where a princess and her attendants fly down to bathe using lace like wings comes to life in a breathtaking combination of images, color and special effects that will dazzle and enchant adults and children alike. The film was finished and had its premiere in Berlin in 1926.


Description: In our age of CG and digital enhancements, it's difficult (for some) to remember a time when things were done by hand and hand alone. Thus, is the case of animation. This painstaking art has been replaced with programs that not only speed up the process of single-frame rendering, they can even mimic pen strokes and outlines.

So it's a rare treat to come across a unique work that illustrates the artistry of early animation in Film. A shining example is Reinger's "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" . There's really no preparation for this feature, one just needs to succumb to the beautiful imagery that begins to reveal itself, one silhouette at a time. It completely takes us off the conventional track and into the realm best inhabited by forgotten dreams. One forgets that one is watching a series of contours and like the traditional Nang Yai shadow puppet play, the journey has you swept away in a short time!

Some may not be as impressed with this `old-fashioned' approach to story telling. It doesn't compare to the spectacles of the `instant classic' available these days. It's a bit `clanky' and possibly too analog for others. On the other hand, if you're looking for a whimsical and imaginative tale of magic, travels to mystical lands, heroism and love (with a charming score), you won't be in the least bit disappointed with this one.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your posts, their quality is superb.

Cameron said...

Thank you for these classics!

cheap viagra said...

In my opinion it is one of the prime Germany animated films , everal famous avant-garde animators worked on this film with Lotte Reiniger. These included Walter Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosch, and Carl Koch!!