Excellent documentary of animator Lotte Reiniger following her Prince Achmed feature on VHS
This documentary of the famed German animator Lotte Reiniger was an extra on the VHS tape of her classic, The Adventures of Prince Achmed. After that feature but before this one-hour chronicle of her life and works, there was a commercial for Nevea Soap and Cream from 1921 that basically told the story of a man pursuing a woman and asking her where she got her smooth white skin. She answered and plugged the product. Its title was The Secret of the Marquise and Lotte made this with white figures and backgrounds on black construction paper. In Lotte Reiniger: Homage to the Inventor of the Silhouette Film, documentarian Katja Raganelli takes us through the trials and tribulations of Ms. Rainiger and her husband and collaborator, Carl Koch, as they achieve artistic fame in Berlin, then Paris, then London when the Nazis invade Germany. Some fascinating tidbits abound like one person's account of lunchtime being called and everyone groaning because all the work of cutting black construction animated figures and backgrounds was done on the floor with all the workers down on their knees! Besides scenes of Prince Achmed, there's also clips of Thumbelina, The Gallant Little Tailor, The Frog Prince, and-in a rare foray using black silhouette figures on a color background-Jack and the Beanstalk. Also recounted are collaborations with French director Jean Renoir and music composer Peter Gellhorn who moved to London with the Kochs because they would have lost their work permits in Germany if Gellhorn, a half-Jew, had continued working with them. Truly a compelling account of one of the most innovative animation artists of the 20th century. Highly essential viewing for any animation enthusiast out there!
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