16

TUESDAY

The very first animated feature was made in Potsdam, not Hollywood, and showcased characters from Arab myth, not cute anthropomorphic critters. Using stop-action photography and hand-cut silhouettes, actress-turned-director Lotte Reiniger and just a few accomplices (including husband Carl Koch) created 1926’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a film whose fluidity and grace are still captivating. The results suggest ballet as well as Indonesian shadow puppetry, and the chiming score, vivid tints, and episodic narrative—which ventures to China and beyond—are suitably exotic. On his travels, Achmed encounters a flying horse, an evil sorcerer, a group of bird-women, an ogress with a heart of gold, and a guy named Aladdin. The film’s ethnic and gender stereotypes have dated, of course, but the images are consistently inventive. The film will be shown with The Art of Lotte Reiniger, a short analysis of the animator’s technique, at 6:30 p.m. at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes’ Goethe-Forum, 812 7th St. NW. $5. (202) 289-1200. (Mark Jenkins)