The Adventures Of Prince Achmed

Presented with LIVE music from Mike Dubué of HILOTRONS.

The Adventures Of Prince Achmed is the oldest surviving feature-length animated film. We present it tonight from a restored 35mm film print, brought up for one night only from a distributor in the United States. The evening will feature a live musical performance of a new score composed by Ottawa’s own Mike Dubué (Hilotrons), who will perform it along with various guest musicians.

Poster art for The Adventures Of Prince AchmedAchmed is a tale of adventure and magic based on the legends of the 1001 Arabian Nights. The film was created over a three-year period by German director Lotte Reiniger, who animated the film using an innovative silhouette technique, photographing cardboard cut-outs and lead forms with a multi-plane camera. Though filmed in black and white, Reiniger also employed various coloured tints and tones to lend the film a more evocative atmosphere. The end result is a film of surprising depth and delicacy. Upon its release it was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece.

Reiniger was a highly accomplished animator, and a determined female pioneer in the film world.  In her professional life she crossed paths with luminaries such as Bertholt Brecht, Fritz Lang, and Jean Renoir, as well as John Grierson, who later founded the National Film Board of Canada. He helped Reiniger and her husband flee to England to escape Nazi persecusion for her involvement in left-wing politics, where she lived and worked for many years, before coming to Canada in the early 1970s. Enticed out of a self-imposed retirement after the death of her husband,  she completed two final short animated films at the NFB, and influenced a new generation of Canadian animators.

It may be a stretch to claim Reiniger as a Canadian filmmaker, but we’re willing to do it in the name of art.

– Lost Dominion Screening Collective

Part of the Canadian Cult Revue film series at the ByTowne, presented by the Lost Dominion Screening Collective.

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