The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, 1926) is one of the best known films that uses a silhouette animation technique, in which cutout figures come to life through the remarkable color prismatic manipulation of light. The story of the film is based on the “Tale of the Magic Horse” from The Arabian Nights. It features an evil sorcerer who tricks Prince Achmed into mounting a magical flying horse that kidnaps its rider by flight to a faraway land. But the prince foils the evil plan and soars headlong into a series of wondrous adventures, joining forces with Aladdin and the Witch of the Flaming Mountains, doing battle with the evil sorcerer’s army of monsters and demons, and falling in love with the beautiful Princess Pari Banu.
Novelist, Critic and Cultural Historian Marina Warner joined Peter Bloom (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.
Marina Warner writes fiction and cultural history. Her books include From the Beast to the Blonde (1994) and Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights (2011; winner of the National Book Critics Circle award, the Sheykh Zayed Prize and the Truman Capote award). She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, Professorial Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, a Fellow of the British Academy, President of the Modern Humanities Research Association for 2018, and was elected President of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. In 2015, she was awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities, and in 2017 she was given a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a British Academy Medal. Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction came out in January 2018 and Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists will be published in the fall. She began the project www.storiesintransit.org in Palermo, Sicily; and is currently researching the concept of Sanctuary and writing an “unreliable memoir” A Life Mislaid about her childhood in Egypt.
Moderator Peter Bloom
Peter J. Bloom is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His recent work has focused on film and radio in late colonial Ghana and Malaya. He has published extensively on British, French, and Belgian colonial media including French Colonial Documentary (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Frenchness and the African Diaspora (coeditor, Indiana UP, 2009), and Modernization as Spectacle in Africa (co-editor, Indiana UP, 2014). His current project, entitled Onomatopoeia and Empire, addresses the unifying context for radio-cinema modernity by reference to Counterinsurgency and Pan-Africanism.
This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Graduate Center for Literary Research.
The CWC Classics program celebrates cinema’s rich history, bringing classic films back to the big screen for critical viewing and discussion. These events feature filmmakers, academics, and professionals who can contextualize the production and historical impact of the films. The series occasionally presents classic films in their original 16 or 35 mm formats. CWC Classics events celebrate the history and significance of cinema’s enduring legacy.