The Adventures of Prince Achmed was a stunning film, oozing technical finesse. I'm so curious about the original soundtrack. However, I found the racist representations of non-Europeans very distracting. The Africans appeared monstrous more than anything else. The Witch seems to be an ape wearing nothing more than feathers and bangles. On the other hand, she seems to posses enormous positive strength - but I wonder if that is an abstract reference to the innocence and purity of primitives. The caricature of the Chinese emperor seems typical of the period: wicked. The only characters who look relatively un-exotic are those of the royal family.
On another note, it seems silhouette puppetry was originally a Chinese art.
Here is some more information on Lotte Reiniger, an interview with her and information on the film.
post by elizabeth canazon