(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – The Adventures of Prince Achmed – the oldest surviving animated feature film – will be screened before a live audience in Courtyard D at MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 15, at 8:30pm. A live, horn-heavy band, featuring Sam Bardfeld (Bruce Springsteen) on violin and Steven Bernstein (Sexmob) on slide trumpet, will perform vibraphonist and composer Bill Ware’s North African- and Middle Eastern-inflected score to this beautiful 1926 silent film by pioneering silhouette animation filmmaker Charlotte Reiniger, based on “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”
The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest surviving animated feature film. The silent movie used a silhouette animation technique Reiniger invented, which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera. The technique Reiniger used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though Reiniger’s were animated frame by frame, not manipulated in live action.