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(£4.50 conc.)

Doors 2:00pm

Film 2:30pm

A film and book club for avid readers and cinephiles. Every second Sunday afternoon of the month, we meet to watch a film adaptation of a book or a writer’s biopic.

dir. Lottie Reiniger

year. 1926

country. Germany

run-time. 66 min

rating. PG

Text: Tales from One Thousand and One Nights, including ‘Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp’ and ‘The Story of Prince Achmed and Pari Banu’

 This December for our festive edition of the DC Film + Book club, Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed comes to Deptford.

Today considered the earliest animated feature-length in cinema history, in this hour-long fantasy spectacle, Reiniger’s intricate silhouettes come to life on screen to perform Middle Eastern folk tales from One Thousand and One Nights. Embodying the role of Scheherazade, the female storyteller of the Arabian Nights tales, Reiniger employs her scissors to snip and stitch together her own version of the source material, featuring a cast of mythical and familiar characters, including an evil sorcerer, Aladdin, the fairy princess Pari Banu and the benevolent Witch of the Flaming Mountain.

Working between 1923-1926 in a tiny shed in Potsdam, Reiniger’s small team included her husband Carl Koch and the pioneering filmmakers Berthold Bartosch and Walter Ruttmann, celebrated director of Berlin: A City Symphony (1927), who provided innovative special effects and backdrops. An ambitious project, the final version of Prince Achmed was the culmination of 250,000 frames.

Almost a century old, as well as a pioneering example of the silhouette animation technique, the animation draws on some distinctly modern themes and ideas, such as the male gaze and voyeurism, and queer representation on screen. 

The post-film discussion will be led by Deptford Cinema volunteer Tashi Petter, who is also a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London, working on a doctoral thesis on Lotte Reiniger.

Tea, cake and other refreshments will be available.

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The film is littered with traces of its own physicality: variations in colour, specks of dust, and flickering light. The bold silhouettes have simplified movements, and the simple power of positive and negative space create a flatness that transports scenes of celebration and ritual into compelling abstract patterns.
— Phillip Johnston, The Guardian
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