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Lotte Reiniger

German filmmaker and animator Lotte Reiniger made over 40 films in her career, predating Walt Disney’s animations by a decade.  She is famous for her Adventures of Prince Achmed, an alternate take on the story of Aladdin.  Her films are essentially grayscale animations on a solid-colored background.  Silhouetted shapes move whimsically across the screen and interact deftly with one another.

Reiniger was inspired by shadow theater as a child, creating her own puppet shows at an early age.  Her work often features her unique interpretations of fairy tales, in which each character is constructed out of black paper, pinned together at the joints, and placed on a backlit animation table to be manipulated.  In planning each film, she produces detailed storyboards and aligns each frame with the corresponding measure of the film’s musical score.  Thus, she can make figures step and jump in time with the rhythm, and can place the narrative climax at a high point in the music.  Reiniger’s husband was also an accomplished filmmaker and aided her in the creation of her body of work.




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