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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Feb 13, 2008

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

This week we're exploring cutout animation in class, and I have to say how enthusiastic I am about this form of animation. What a way to show you understand the principle of silhouette value, a principle I've always been meticulous about implementing well. I'm not always successful, but it's a principle I understand and one that I'm constantly aware of. Perhaps that's why I've found new inspiration in Lotte Reiniger's 1926 film, "The Adventures of Prince Achmed". This is quite an old film, and even in 1926 cutout animation was considered passé. But that still didn't stop a few clips of the film from showing up on YouTube.

Reiniger's designs are amazing, and they really create the characters before they start moving in their own unique ways. You can see what I'm talking about in this screen cap:

It was a real treat to be able to watch the whole film, partly because of it's rarity and inaccessibility, but also because it really shows how many films and film makers of today and generations past were influenced by this film. I constantly had to remind myself that this film came first when I thought to myself, "Hey that's a lot like the (blank) scene from (insert movie name)." A couple of examples that come to mind are The Sword and the Stone and Sleeping Beauty. Take a look at the following screen caps to see if you see the similarities and/or connections.

The Wizard's Duel from both films. I'd recommend seeing an actual clip from each if you get the chance.

This scene made me think of Sleeping Beauty immediately. The prince in both scenes is being attacked by an onslaught of demons on a steep incline.

Now I don't know the exact history and whether or not these are in fact influences, but it certainly seems like it. Perhaps someone can fill me in on this?

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about doing my own cutout animation next week. I'm full of inspiration and anticipation, who knows what I'll come up with, but I'll be sure to post it here.

Here's a clip from YouTube:

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Blogger -:- said...

Hi Dan, I remember watching your interviews with Pinkava and Eggleston, but I no longer have it downloaded, and the links in your blog don't work. Do you have the dvd quality one available still? Thanks.

February 15, 2008 5:51 PM


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