The creative process cannot be silenced.
Lotte Reiniger
A contemporary of the controversial Nazi documentarian Leni Riefenstahl, Charlotte (Lotte) Reineger is a brilliant, unique artist who created The Adventures of Prince Achmed,the world’s first feature-length animated film, along with more than 60 other animated films. What makes Reineger especially noteworthy as a filmmaker is that all her films utilize hand-cut silhouettes created by Reiniger herself that portray the characters and their every move.

From early childhood, Reiniger was fascinated with the Chinese art of silhouette puppetry and she put on puppet shows for her family and friends. Later she fell in love with cinema and got her first job in film creating title cards for director Paul Wegener.

While only in her mid-20s Reiniger created her greatest work, The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Based on stories from One Thousand and One Nights, this film is not only filled with battles, comedy, romance, magic and evil, but as with all her films, Reiniger endows the story with droll social commentary.

Deploring Nazism and involved in leftist politics, Reiniger and Carl Koch (her husband and creative partner) tried to emigrate, but no country would give them permanent visas. From 1933 – 1939 they moved from country to country, staying as long as their travel visas would allow, and occasionally having to return to Germany. During this period they somehow managed to complete 12 films.

Years later, Reiniger and Koch were able to move to London. Here Reiniger went on to create dozens more films as well as short advertising films for the General Post Office. Over the course of her career, Reinger created numerous animated short children’s films, which were based on classic fairy tales, some operatic motifs as well as original stories. “I love working for children,” said Reiniger, “because they are a very critical and very thankful public.”

Truly one of the most original and influential filmmakers in history, late in her life Reiniger was recognized for her contributions to cinema when she was awarded the Filmband in Gold of the Deutscher Filmpreis in 1972 and in 1979 she received the Great Cross of the Federal Cross of Merit. Reiniger died in Germany in 1981.

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