The Adventures of Prince Achmed in 35mm with Dennis Scott at the Organ and Manual Cinema at the Projectors – Feb. 9 at 11:30am at the Music Box Theatre

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: $11

Saturday, February 9 @ 11:30 AM
Directed by Lotte Reiniger • 1926
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Teenage scissor prodigy and self-described “primitive caveman artist” Lotte Reiniger began working in the film industry as a designer of animated title cards in 1916 and soon found herself mixing with a coterie of bohemian cartoonists. Reiniger’s big break came in 1923, as hyperinflation sent the value of the Deutschmark plummeting; one of her patrons, Berlin banker Louis Hagen, converted his liquid assets to the relatively “safe” currency of raw motion picture stock and built a small studio for Reiniger over the garage of his Potsdam vegetable garden. After three years, Reiniger emerged with The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a literally handmade tapestry of silhouette animation that may as well have sprung from a magic lamp. A free adaptation of several stories from the Arabian Nights, this mythical journey from Bagdad to Wak-Wak, with plenty of witches, sorcerers, and flying horses along the way, conjures more wonderful sights from card stock and tissue paper than most modern blockbusters can scare up with the budget and computing power of a small nation-state. Prince Achmed is now recognized as the earliest surviving animated feature film, but that’s perhaps the least astounding thing about it. The craftsmanship of Prince Achmed remains singular and undiminished, with its intricately designed puppets, its freely undulating backdrops, its otherworldly special effects, and its unstoppable narrative ascent to the clouds. The original negative of Prince Achmed was destroyed in World War II, but luckily a tinted nitrate print was safely ensconced at the British Film Institute; this copy served as the basis for the film’s 1999 restoration, which yielded an irreplaceable print. (KW)
66 min • Comenius-Film GmbH • Tinted 35mm from Milestone Films
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2000)
Special introduction from members of Manual Cinema
Short: “Adam Raises Cain” (Tony Sarg, 1922) – 7 min – 16mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701  W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, February 13 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Takeshi Kitano • 1997
A stand-up comedian, television host, video game designer, and internationally acclaimed actor-director, Takeshi Kitano (responsible for CFS favorite A Scene at the Sea) added painter to his long list of hyphenates in 1994 while rehabilitating after a motor scooter accident temporarily sidelined his multitudinous careers and left half of his face paralyzed. A de facto first exhibition for his colorful, kitschy canvases (which adorn nearly every scene), the eccentric crime thriller Hana-Bi was also the film that solidified Beat Takeshi’s reputation as an international arthouse favorite, winning the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and bringing him the strongest critical notices of his career. Takeshi stars as one of his trademark taciturn tough guys, an unstable ex-cop forever addled after his participation in a violent arrest gone wrong. While his former partners on the force try to get on with their lives to varying degrees of success (one takes up painting in an unspeakably moving bit of autobiography), Takeshi struggles with caring for his dying wife and finds himself in debt to the local yakuza. A jarring, achronological mixture of deadpan comedy, blunt violence, and bald-faced, unabashed sentiment, Hana-bi remains Kitano’s most popular and perhaps representative film to date, as opaque, tender, and volatile as Takeshi himself. (CW)
103 min • Office Kitano • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Film Movement
Short: “Fireworks” (Kenneth Anger, 1947) – 15 min – 16mm from Canyon Cinema

Check of the rest of the season here!


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