The birth of the king’s daughter is celebrated with splendour until the thirteenth fairy, who had not been invited, prophesies to the little princess that on her fifteenth birthday she will sting herself on a spindle and die instantly. The twelfth fairy manages to diminish the evil spell’s outcome to a hundred-year sleep.
Although all the spindles in the country are collected, fate cannot be stopped. The princess discovers an old tower with a chamber where a mysterious old woman sits and spins. The sting of the spindle makes the fairy’s curse come true. Everyone falls asleep and a thorn hedge overgrows the whole castle.
In the hundredth year, a young prince who had heard the legend from an old shepherd, comes and frees Sleeping Beauty with his liberating kiss. Everyone at court comes to life once more. There is a splendid wedding and the thorn hedge gradually withers. —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