The Adventures of Prince Achmed

The Adventures of Prince Achmed ★★★★

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 47/52
Prompt: Watch a film from the Animation Before the 2000s list

This was the obvious choice for this category but I don't regret it in the least. It's a delightful chunk of masterful technique; the fluidity and grace of the animation is remarkable. The backgrounds are likewise really something. I can understand how Lotte Reiniger worked with those silhouettes, although they were awfully intricate, but I don't have any idea where that background animation came from. Liquid over the lens? Really cool.

Returning to the silhouettes: I think that the thing that really struck me was how well she captured a sense of real movement with just her paper and scissors. She did better than Disney would manage for quite some time. Impressive stuff.

I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that Reiniger's understanding of Africa and Asia is, well, 1926 vintage. Given her views on homosexuality, I don't have any reason to think she wouldn't approach that material differently today.

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