Dancing Silhouettes Animation and Avant-garde in the work of Lotte Reiniger

Curators Asier Mensuro

Lotte Reiniger (Berlin-Charlottenburg, German Empire, 1899 – Dettenhausen, FRG, 1981) is best known internationally as the director of the first feature-length animated film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, which she created using her signature technique: silhouette animation. But her legacy is vaster than that, as her character and the magnificence of her work are a prime example to help us approach the analysis of three forms of film expression: avant-garde cinema, abstract cinema, and experimental cinema. Today, audiences of all ages, though initially reluctant to watch silhouette animation, become fascinated by the magic and the visual power of Reiniger’s films. The selection of works included in this exhibition offers visitors a look into her universe. It takes them on a journey that includes a looped screening of The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a documentary section with pictures from her life and the sets of her films, original sketches, storyboards, short films, the original tools that were used to create the silhouettes, background sets, a documentary where the filmmaker explains her animation technique, and a large block showing her projects on Mozart’s pieces, and even the silhouettes with which she portrayed her friends and acquaintances.

From 1 August through the exhibition’s closing date, a selection of her films –including The Adventures of Prince Achmed and Beautiful Helena– will be screened in Fundación Luis Seoane’s auditorium.