Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Animation Timeline - Lotte Reiniger (1899 - 1981)

Lotte Reiniger produced animations using silhoutted characters and basic backgrounds to create simplistic styles of a fairytale. "These are fairytales as they were before Disney got his hands on them - dark, European folk tales with nothing soppy about them. Even though her work reduces images to their very basics, there's incredible grace, complexity and variety to the "performances" of the paper actors." (O'Neill, 2008) Reiniger has captured a sense of truth in her animations as Disney adapted them more for children, she has captured the darkness and reality in the character's and their motives. Cinderella (1922) was her first film adaption in this style, The shapes of the paper characters identified to the audience that the Step mother and Ugly sister's were made to look monstorous with pointy teeth and evil looking eyes. Whereas Cinderella has the shape of a person who is pure and as someone who doesn't deserve the mistreatment.

               Figure 1, (2009), Cinderella still 1


   Figure 2, (2010), Cinderella still 2

The animations are strong because of the emotion shown, for example, Cinderella was a silent film so had to rely on the exaggerated movements and expressions of the silhouettes. "Lotte Reiniger is an early Twentieth Century animator, known for her extensive collection of film animations inspired by Chinese shadow puppetry. They are black and white animations, with varying shades of grey for the background. Her animation is richly detailed and humorous with characters and worlds rendered in sharp angles and delicate shapes." (Welsh, 2011)  The style was influenced from the Chinese culture, developing the idea of using jagered edges and sharp lines to convey the dark emotion of the story. Reiniger took a lot of patience and skill to visualise the story. "Lotte Reiniger's beautiful style of animation which incorporates extravagant silhouetted characters set to either stunningly intricate or boldly simplistic backgrounds has made her one of the 20th century's most respected animation directors." (Supanet, 2011) The relation to the character's to the backgrounds are strong because it is all drawn in the same style, in Cinderella there are sequences when the set transforms from complex to more simplistic sets to identify intense moments to more complicated sets to describe how the character lives and transforms during the journey of the story.

Figure 3, (2009), Prince Achmed

Figure 4, (2008), The Marquise's secret


Figure 1, (2009), Cinderella still 1, @, Accessed on: 30th October 2009

Figure 2, (2010), Cinderella still 2, @, Accessed on: 31st August 2010

Figure 3, (2009), Prince Achmed, @, Accessed on: 11th October 2009

Figure 4, (2008), The Marquise's secret, @, Accessed on: 3rd January 2008


O'Neill Phelim, (2008), Lotte Reiniger - The Fairy Tale Films, @, Accessed on: 29th November 2009

Supanet, (2011), Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films, @, Accessed on: 2011

Welsh Amy (2011), Animagica/ Amiina with the films of Lotte Reiniger,@, Accessed on: 7th March 2011

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