Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Animator and Animation Reviews... Lotte Reiniger...

Lotte Reiniger was a German silhouette animator and film director, born in 1899. She is among the great figures in animated film and her silhouette animations, taking from the ancient art of shadow-plays, have no rivals to date. Lotte Reiniger stands alone as the history of silhouette animation begins and ends with Reiniger. She was born in Berlin and from an early age showed an exceptional ability to cu free-hand paper silhouettes, which she used in her own home-made shadow-theatre. From the first of her animations, Reiniger was atracted to timeless fairy-tale stories. Cinderella (1922) and Sleeping Beauty (1922) were among her earliest subjects. She also went on to recreate other fairy-tale stories like The Frog Prince (1954), Hansel and Gretel (1955), and Jack and the Beanstalk (1955). Many of her other animations are based on fables and tales, using her skillful silhouettes.

In Cinderella (1922), Reiniger recreates a very familiar story using beautifully hand-cut silhuottes in her animation. It may be hard to watch because of the lack of sound, but for what it lacks in audio, it gains in visual aesthetic as we see a masterclass of a long-forgotten art-form in the animation industry. Silhouettes are something we would perceive as 'old school' animation but it is clear that it can have the same emotional effects on its audience as any other type of animation. I particularly found the parts where they were squeezing thesoe on to be very funny, with the first of the sisters cutting her foot off in desperation to get the glass slipper on. This was a lot different to the disney version we are all used to, but it's a very creative and unique representation of the well-known fairy-tale.

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