Made by Lotte Reiniger in 1926, Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
is the world’s oldest surviving feature-length animated film. Based on the legends from The Arabian Nights
, it tells the story of the travels of Prince Achmed, who is tricked by an evil magician into riding a flying horse that takes him to distant magical lands. He falls in love with (and kidnaps
) Princess Pari Banu, and must fight to return home with her in time to stop his sister, Princess Dinarsade, from marrying the evil magician.
In addition to its age, the film is most notable for Reiniger’s highly unique animation style, which uses black silhouettes of the characters and set pieces against painted backdrops. While this might be perceived as limiting, the characters remain highly distinct and expressive. Each silhouetted figure in the film was hand-cut and animated by Reiniger frame by frame – a labor of love that took three years to complete.
Provides examples of: