The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926)
“Now that rampaging dinosaurs, epic catastrophes, and superheroes have become ubiquitous in movies, animation seems as commonplace as news footage. But animation is as old photography itself; it predates ‘motion pictures’ through a variety of Victorian contraptions. And its practitioners were often the most solitary and obsessive filmmakers–visionaries who painstakingly granted the illusion of life to an astonishing array of materials, and devoted years of labor to producing a few moments of flickering movement. Animators are cinemaís original Frankensteins. . . .”
The new issue of the Utne-nominated ads-free indie magazine Beyond is flying off the printer now, and it’s theme is “small.” For my ongoing “Film Journey” column, I chose to discuss the works of animators whose obsession and genius have gifted us over the years: Ladislaw Starewicz, Lotte Reiniger, Alexander Alexeieff, Yuri Norstein, Norman McLaren, Stan Brakhage, and Don Hertzfeldt. I could have included many more, of course, but consider these a good primer.
Even better news is that Beyond now has an online store that sells individual issues, subscriptions, and an exciting option to purchase the magazine for libraries. As the magazine’s editor Karen Neudorf tells me:
“We decided we’re going to get out of bookstores, where we lose money and get no subscriptions, and get sponsorship to go into libraries which is where we can share with people who can’t afford it, be environmentally responsible by getting more readers per issue and well, we just like libraries.”
Well, I just love Beyond (and clearly I’m not the only one), so I heartily encourage you to check it out.