Jack is living in great poverty with his mother. He goes to the town market to sell their last pig for a good price. There he meets a mysterious little man and an even more mysterious trade is made: he trades the pig for a pouch which allegedly contains all the world’s riches. His mother is deeply disappointed because she discovers nothing more than ordinary beans in the bag.
From there, the wonder begins. These are not ordinary beans: as soon as they are planted, beanstalks as thick as trees start to grow. Jack cannot be restrained. He nimbly climbs up the beanstalk until his mother can no longer see him.
Up in the sky, he discovers a giant’s castle, where the giant’s daughter is playing the harp. A joyful meeting takes place, for she has never seen a man like Jack before. A roaring sound announces the return of the man-eating giant, carrying a special present for his daughter: a magic hen that lays golden eggs. Before Jack is able to grab the hen, he has to fight the giant for his life.
In a wild chase, he manages to get away. Back on earth, he cuts the beanstalk with an axe and the giant plunges to his death. Now Jack proudly faces his mother. —Christel Strobel, BFI
Among the great figures in animated film, Lotte Reiniger stands alone. No one else has taken a specific animation technique and made it so utterly her own. To date she has no rivals, and for all practical purposes the history of silhouette animation begins and ends with Reiniger. Taking the ancient art of shadow-plays, as perfected above all in China and Indonesia, she adapted it superbly for the cinema.
She was born in Berlin to cultured parents, and from an early age showed an exceptional and, it seems, self-taught ability to cut free-handed paper silhouettes, which she used in her own home-made shadow-theatre. Initially she planned to be an actress, studied with Max Reinhardt, and used her skill at silhouette portraiture to attract the attention of the film director Paul Wegener. He invited her to make silhouettes for the intertitles to his films Rübezahls Hochzeit (Germany, 1916) and Der Rattenfänger von Hameln (Germany, 1918).
Wegener introduced Reiniger… read more