Lotte Reiniger’s Stop Motion
The artistic style that, stop motion artist, Lotte Reiniger used in many of her films was truly unique and utterly amazing for its time. Her use of silhouette animation broke the very fabric of what many artists had been doing during the early 1900’s. Reiniger used stop motion to create master pieces that were unlike any live action or traditional animation. Her style consisted of taking cardboard cutouts and moving them with wire. However, her distinct style included wire that allowed her to move the joints of her characters and even some of the scenery. An example of this can be seen in her short film “Hansel and Gretel” in which objects such as cages and trees are moving with the use of these wires that she has attached to them. As well as a scene from “Prince Achmed” when we see reflections in the water moving as if the characters were actually standing in the water. Reiniger was able to create such life-like effects in her stop motion films that not many animation films were able to do at the time.
The motion in each of her films is truly beautiful and she succeeds in making it feel as though these are actual people moving and taking action in her film. Such is evident in her film “Papageno” where there are some very vibrant motion scenes that she does a superb job at making flow and not look so stiff and rigid. Her design is truly magnificent in the fact that she is able to portray certain emotions and personas for characters even though we cannot see their facial expressions. Her ability to invoke feeling in her characters and films is solely done through body movements and sound. This technique is something that would have been difficult for live action and traditional animation because aside from body movements, facial expressions were what truly showed viewers how characters were feeling. When looking at the overall design of characters and even scenery in Lotte Reiniger’s films one cannot but be amazed at her work. An example that comes to mind is her film “Cinderella”. All of her work was done using cardboard cutouts and when one looks at Cinderella’s dress in the film you can see all of the meticulous designs and patterns in the dress. It was created with such fine detail that Reiniger cut out and made, which shows such beauty in her overall design.
Even the background images in many of her films have such breathtaking designs that add to the overall uniqueness of her stop motion animation. Lotte Reiniger truly made her own style that not many were able to match in the realm of stop motion. She was looked upon as the pioneer for silhouette animation because of her style and even her cinematography. She created such films that were not just a series of characters and images moving around. There were actual stories to be told in her films and she was able to create different effects, lighting and even had different camera shots during her films. She made her films appealing to the viewer and was a truly magnificent stop motion artists.