Friday, January 25, 2008

Forgotten Film Magic: Lotte Reiniger

I recently watched an absolutely enchanting movie called The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It was made in 1926, and is believed to be the first full-length animated film (predating Walt Disney.) It was created by a German woman named Lotte Reiniger. Her animations were made out of silhouette figures, paper cut-outs, rather than being drawn as is usually the case.

These days movies are full of special effects and computer animation, but I enjoyed this silent film more than anything I've seen in a while. It was beautiful, exciting, and witty. (To digress -- I haven't seen all that many silent films, but it's interesting to contemplate just how few words a film needs in order to succeed.)

It's not technology that makes a good movie, but artistry. That is what Reiniger had. She was fortunate enough to be able to spend her whole life working as an artist and animator, doing what she loved (in partnership with her husband) and just barely making enough money to live on.

Let's see . . . this page has a short biography of her, and teases us with links to some of her short films which we're not allowed to watch. And here is a review of Prince Achmed with some nice stills.

No comments: