Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Just watched The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lotte Reiniger's wondrous 1926 German silhouette animated film. In the film, a young Arabian prince is whisked away on a flying horse to do battle with mythological creatures, and with the help of Aladdin and the Fire Mountain Witch, thwart the plans of an evil sorcerer and claim the love of his life. Jean Renoir called this Reiniger's film a masterpiece and it's entirely deserved, an absolutely beautiful work with delicate, fluid animation, and vibrant backdrops and textures that anticipate psychedelia by some 40 years. Despite the exotic Middle East setting, this is unmistakably Germanic - it very much feels like a Bergfilme and some of the backdrops reminded me of the romantic landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. And I wonder did Coppola have the film in mind when he put together the opening sequence of Bram Stoker's Dracula ? I must tune in to the commentary to see if the film is mentioned...

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