Inserted in the splendid setting of the Golden Night that takes place in Ravenna on October 6, 2018, Ravenna Nightmare Film Fest, with the historical collaboration of Circolo Sogni Antonio Ricci, this year is proposing an appointment that has a fantastic flavor.
Inspired by the peculiarity of Nightmare Classic - section promoting the History of Cinema - the appointment of XVI edition focuses on a film whose historical value is as great as its beauty. The relationship between contemporary cinema and its memory has been deeply changed by digital technologies. Ravenna Nightmare has always felt the need to give voice, through personal retrospectives and tributes, to the cinema of the past. The work of film libraries around the world has changed, it is no longer about preserving increasingly rare and precious films, but rather about restoring them and doing so in a projectable format. Transforming each film into a DCP is unthinkable, so the nature of retrospective has changed as well. We moved from classic, philologically flawless retrospectives to the presentation of the best that film libraries around the world have done over the years and are continuing to do.
Certainly, these requirements and many more characterize the film dating back to the beginning of the century entitled The adventures of Prince Achmed (Germany 1923-26, 66 min) by Lotte Reiniger, one of the few women who wrote the history of cinema.
Lotte Reiniger is considered the creator of silhouette film, a real pioneer. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the first animated feature film with silhouette in the history of cinema. With her husband and collaborator Carl Koch, similarly to other leading artistic innovators of this period (Walther Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosch, Alexander Kardan), Reiniger took several tales from the "Arabian Nights", retained their beauty, comedy and even violence and combined them with the technical resources of the cinema.
Although "Prince Achmed's" first success was in France (after the first screening in Berlin in May 1926), the film is recognised as an unique product of the Golden Age of the German cinema. It was made in a very small garden studio in Potsdam on the estate of Louis Hagen, a young Berlin banker and supporter of the Arts, who had seen some of Reiniger's previous work. "Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed" is an exciting and magical fantasy which manages to retain the original atmosphere of the Arabian legends, interpreted through the cinema screen.
The original negative was destroyed in Berlin towards the end of the War along with much else of Reiniger's work. Luckily an all-but complete nitrate positive had been preserved in the Archive of British Film Institute and new prints were taken from this copy. 1999 (as a tribut to Lotte Reiniger's 100. birthday anniversary) the film was restored by the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, with German language intertitles copied from Germaine Dulac's original designs.