The Adventures of Prince Achmed
With New Live Score By Chris Davies
Full of all the thrilling
that you’d expect
of a classic fairytale.
Chris Davies reinvigorates the film with his skilful composition and live performance using a spectacular array of instruments from around the world to accompany Prince Achmed’s journey from the Middle East, to Africa, China and beyond.
The new live score was commissioned specially for Bradford Animation Festival’s celebration event in November 2014.
“Lotte Reiniger's brilliant Adventures of Prince Achmed is a true animation gem. Historically it is an important work in the animation canon -- and within the global film community. Moreover, when coupled with musician Chris Davies's new score, Reiniger's work leaps anachronistically to present day and back again. It's as if you're watching the film as it should be viewed: In the 1920s. His accompaniment is a work of art in itself. I recommend it wholeheartedly.” Mark Shapiro, Studio Laika
“The visuals were fantastic – the cutout and animations – and the music, just stunning – so well matched to the content of the story and characters.”
“That was a real highlight of everything I’ve seen this year. Congratulations to the fabulous musician and to all who made it possible for us to see, I was completely mesmerised from beginning to end – in fact I didn’t want it to end!”
The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Prinzen Achmed) is an animated fairytale film based on tales from The Arabian Nights.
First shown in 1926 in Germany by Lotte Reiniger. It is the oldest surviving animated feature film and still stands as one of the great classics of animation — witty, lively, delicate, inventive, stirring and romantic.
“A joy to behold. Beautiful and innovative - age only adds to its brilliance and charm.” Empire
Neither the original negative nor a complete copy of the German original has survived, the reconstruction used is based on a nitrate copy with English intertitles from the BFI National Archive.
This material was used to make a new copy and the German intertitles were reinserted from the surviving censor card.
The film features a silhouette animation technique Reiniger had invented which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera.
The technique she used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though hers was animated frame-by-frame, not manipulated in live action. The original prints featured colour tinting.
Several famous avant-garde animators worked on this film with Lotte Reiniger, among them Walter Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosch and Carl Koch.