February 27, 1931 [Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed/The Adventures of Prince Achmed]

The shoulder-bobbing mice and dogs and ducks of Disney's animations fade, their melodies tinny, their purpose indistinct, in the multicolored glow of Prince Achmed and his articulated, swirling, sand-and-cutout fable-dance. Sly and elusive, foolish and free, Lotte Reiniger's "cartoon" blends many styles and techniques--their secrets kept, only their spell visible, like something out of the oldest rituals, puppets in silhouette explaining ourselves to us, as any myth should, the narrative bowing down to serve the lasting effect: the giddy joy of a mystery, slipping from my grasp, bright flashes of red and blue, green and gold, fading, returning, drawing me.


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