Deficiencies and Excellence as illustrated by the Films, the Adventure of Prince Achmed, the Company of Wolves, and Scarlet Flower
The Adventures of Prince Achmed
The film The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a 1926 German fairy tale created by Lotte Reiniger. The movie is considered an influential animation of all times since it brings a new technique, the silhouettes, to create an inventive and lively film. Prince Achmed is the fairy protagonist who engages in journeys from the Middle East, China, and Africa that introduce the magical adventures and tragic and trickery in the film. The introduction of African sorcery brings the film to its climatic end, which is a victory for Prince Ahmed. The film is still a relevant piece of animation film and Lotte Reiniger brings excellence in the animation techniques and film.
Excellence in the Film. Lotte Reiniger introduced the silhouettes technique, which utilized paper and cards. The method was inspired by ancient art and puppetry to bring about the perfect slow-motion picture. The film techniques are influential to contemporary art and film since it creates a captivating story and other properties that expand on the audience’s imagination. The silhouette technique is a collaborative form of art that presents different specialities and in film, they bring out the character traits and physical features. The silhouette technique was animation innovation that set new standards for the film. The technique accounts for the magical and fantasy elements present in the fairy tale. The film’s excellence is in the innovativeness and experimentation using different elements.
The creator of the film, Lotte Reiniger excellently presents the various elements of a fairytale. The characters adopt unusual and non-humanistic traits that bring out the horrific nature of the film. The movie comprises of characters that undergo bodily transformations and other magic effects to advance the plotline and create the villain in the form of fairy witches or sorcerers. Reiniger’s approach offers unlimited time for the film as the animation overcomes the conventional structures and standards. The film is a true revelation of animation magic that allows the audience to relate to the narrative and inspire their sense of imagination.
Just like folklore, The Adventures of Prince Achmed is created in the past and often set in enchanted environments such as a kingdom. For example, Prince Achmed grows up in a kingdom and he travels in different parts. The inclusion of foreign and African magicians brings about the film’s antagonism. Therefore, the movie bears cultural significance as illustrated by the Weimar Republic principles. The rise of social issues such as class and gender equality demonstrates the societal differences and possible causes of the narrative conflict. The creator of the film brilliantly disguises societal classes into the main characters. Thus, the film brings about narrative elements through different characters.
The uniqueness of the film The Adventures of Prince Achmed is evident in the full-length time span. Moreover, it utilizes technologies such as multi-plane animation and camera set-up to bring the silhouette transformations. According to Madeleine, the film adopts an avant-garde style in animation and transcends all narrative boundaries. Thus, the creator of the film adopts an overload of information to create a collectivizing experience in storytelling. The film’s narrative is filled with princes and princesses, fairy witches and a clear clash between good and evil. Just like a fable, good triumphs with the defeat of the villain and the continuation of the fantasy journey for the protagonist.
The film’s deficiencies are evident in the use of shadow play medium that creates a stark style for the narrative. Magical tales and fantasy is a sinister method of exposing serious social issues such as gender objectification and inequality. For example, the film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed uses women characters like witches, which is a biased form of expressing villainy in the film. The creator’s bias is part and parcel of the narrative and the lacks of comic elements in the film enhance the general perception and meaning of the film.
The film differentiates the mainstream notions of animation and explains the unusual lack of comedy and slapstick in the film. The production of the film accounts for the overall lack of flair and proper resolution in the film. Deficiencies in the film are evident in the creation of an eerie atmosphere. The defect is in the poor lighting, which brings about more darkness. The photography flaws promote the lack of clarity in different scenes. In essence, the film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed was a success following the producer’s unique technique, narrative, and other elements of fairytales.
Scarlet Flower (1977, Dir. Irina Povolotskaya)
The Scarlet Flower is a 1977 Russian folk tale directed by Irina Povolotskaya. The movie is an adaptation from a traditional narrative that is part of the societal and generational narratives. The film focuses on the life of a wealthy merchant and his three daughters. The pursuit of the scarlet leads to the merchant to the castle where he meets a monster. Nastenka the youngest daughter of the merchant leads to the transformation of the prince (“Scarlet Flower (1978) Movie”). The film is a folktale as it comprises of societal narratives that define the culture of a society and they are transmitted orally. The Scarlet Flower is a tale-bearing important lessons to the society and the audience.
Excellence in the Film. The creator of the film brings out the traditional and literary uses of folklore as part of Russia’s heritage. According to Yermolovich, the fairytale is translated into Russian and passed across generations (Yermolovich 11). The Russian translation offers a unique perspective into the narrative and the creator of the film has successfully employment different techniques such as cinematography and music to create the perfect fairy or dreamlike atmosphere. In essence, the excellence of the film is achieved through the portrayal of Russian culture and heritage and the aspect of film making.
The translation of Scarlet Flower into the film is a method spreading Russian tales into different periods. The film borrows from other sources to increase its believability. The producer uses cinematography to create vivid images and details of the folk tale. Folktale devises an impossible test for the protagonist and in this case, Nastenka has to fall in love with the monster to cast out the spell. The protagonist battles through fear and uncertainty of the monster. In the end, the audience learns a valuable moral lesson from Nastenka’s perseverance.
The Russian fairytale brings out the colors and rich elegance that comes with royalty. The film’s utilization of dark colors portrays the Russian flavors and building architecture. The use of music and sound brings out specific details about the film and the character traits. The sound matches the environment that gives the motion picture a unique touch. The sound sets the tense mood, for example, the merchant’s encounter with the beast sets a mysterious mood in the film and helps bring out the character traits of the father, which are sincerity and commitment to his daughters. The application of sound excellently denotes the power of various characters. For example, the monster’s foreboding tone illustrates his position in the place and not necessarily deeming him the monster. In essence, the use of sound and music perfectly brings the tone for certain scenes.
Excellent cinematography techniques are part of Scarlet Flower, which reflects the Russian baroque art. The setting of the film is meant to bring out the fairytale romance outcome demonstrated through feasts and images. The general feeling is enchanting the audience’s spirit relates and appreciates the union between the prince and the merchant’s daughter. It is the fascination of the audience that the storyline ends in a positive climax instead of a tragedy. The film drives the audience to an emotional depthlessness that is filled with love and passion for the characters. The connection between the monster and the merchant’s daughter is the essence of fairy and unbelievable tale.
On the other hand, the Russian fairytale seems to borrow a lot from the western fairies. The unification of beauty and beast seems overstretched given the Nastenka’s reaction to the beast. The transfer of love is built on a childhood fantasy that lacks significance in the adult audience. The fairytale and its plotline are largely borrowed and they lack the Russian touch. Despite the deep connection, the audiences require a realistic view of issues that do not distort the truth of the narrative.
Another deficiency is the one-dimensionality approach to the narrative that “leaves the audience in the dark.” Therefore, it is unclear whether the audience understands the story without the information. For example, the merchant finds the most beautiful scarlet flower in the monsters palace but the owner forces him to give up one of his daughters. The narrative does not explain the use of the scarlet flower and it does not justify the cause of sacrifice. For the level minded audience, the scarlet flower is just a connection in the creation of a fairy tale and the monster is not really a monster, which makes the fairy ending more predictable.
The scarlet flower is an acted form of beauty and the beast and it illustrates the life of a bewitched prince and young girl. The love connection creates the perfect fairy tale ending. The creator employs different techniques to bring about romanticism and love. In addition, the creation of chaotic scenes brings the aspect of struggles and fear of the various characters. Despite the minor flaws such as foreign interference that cause changes in the storyline, the Russian touch brings out the essence of fairytale ending.
The Company of Wolves (1984, Dir. Neil Jordan)
The film Company of Wolves was created and directed by Neil Jordan and it comprises of British Goth, fantasy, and horror narrative. The film is an adaption of Angela Carter’s story werewolf. In the film, the protagonist lives in a fairy and grim forest infested by wolves and human beings who occasionally turn into wolves. The characters experience nightmares and fears due to dark forests and wolves that devour several members of the community. The relationship between the humans and the wolves is conflicted and they are unable to cohabit peacefully.
Excellence in the film. The cultural setting of the film confirms the existence of folk remedies and the effect of supernatural abilities in destabilizing society. According to the film, the people are adherents to culture and transformation into a wolf requires societal condemnation. The creator of the film excellently creates powerful evocations of fear and nerve-cracking moments for the characters and audience who live under the fear of wolves. Different actions illustrate the horrific feelings that come with suspense and tense emotion.
The film brings about a hallucinatory reality that is close-up and intense for the viewers. Replication of scenes and motion for the different characters introduces the traveling moments and the suspense that comes with uncertainty. For example, the protagonist meets with a disguised wolf and they compete on finding the granny’s house. The illustration of traveling moments introduces the aspect of suspense. Moreover, the film appeals to human empathy, which is a response to the horror in the film.
As depicted in many horror films, Company of Wolves demonstrates the existence of carnal monstrosity. In this case, being a monster refers to the violation of social norms and the adoption of the wolf complex. The title company of wolves refers to the unique dynamics in which wolves disguise and become men and men are wolves in a twisted plot that is pursuance for dominance. The producer of the film tactfully exposes human nature and bestial transformation that is a common phenomenon in society with regards to feminine sexuality. The werewolves in the film represent carnal desire and association with men serves as a warning to the protagonist and the audience.
The producer applies film techniques to illustrate the gothic nature of the environment. Capturing of dark forests scenes multiplies the “creep factor” among the audience and the characters. Horror is dark and the creation of fantastical gloom brings the gory scenes. The film uses images and sound to bring the forest scenes as compelling frightful for the protagonist. In the real world, the film makes no sense to the audience, which explains the extensive use of dreams. The dreams reflect the bizarre imagery employed by the filmmaker to enhance symbolism and meaning.
The “dream mode” is part of the opening scene in the film. For a horror movie, the dreams pull the audience into a frightening image and grotesque scenes that illustrate the tense relationship between humans and werewolves. The dreams symbolize Rosaleen’s journey to adulthood that is filled with multiple changes. The journey to adulthood is filled with wolves and monsters that symbolically refer to male desires. Thus, the filmmaker uses the human wolf’s allegory to symbolize human maturation processes.
The director choice of characters is excellent since each character performance determines the success of the film. The character Rosaleen perfectly executes the adulthood transformation through the innocence of speech and her physical appearance to illustrate childhood naivety. The transformation to adulthood is subtle as it brings out the in-depth meaning of the film. In essence, the characters bring out the werewolf and human traits of protectiveness in the fairy tale.
On the other hand, the film has certain deficiencies that cloud the true nature of society. The use of imagery and symbolism to depict men as lustful, treacherous, and wolf-like is a biased view of masculinity. The imagery of the wolf is violent and extremely frightening to the audience and it weakens the film’s meaning since a wolf is such a plastic idea and symbol of evil. The portrayal of evil is two-sided in the society and the use of mild objects to represent the villain is significant since these objects relate with the society and the audience. In this case, using the wolf is stretching the truth far for the already frightened audience.
Another deficiency is evidently the unrealistic and animatronic transformation. For example, the protagonist transforming into a wolf is laughable and does not necessarily get the audience cringing in fear. The wolf transformation severely damages the audience’s believability. The employment of poor transition effects pulls back the dream effect and the disbelief. Despite the deficiencies in the film, the Company of Wolves brings out the fright in the audience.
The movie is an outstanding and excellent portrayal of a woman’s journey to maturation despite the constant wolf invasion. The creator of the film employs symbolism and imagery to bring about the element of evil into the film. The wolf is a threatening choice for film and it menacing and ferocious nature explains the male behavior towards women. The film exposes the vicious reality through graphic and peculiar visions and dreams through the eyes of the protagonist. Unrealistic wolf-human transformations affect the terror mode in the audience since they are unbelievable. Despite these deficiencies, the film is a perfect illustration of horror in society. The motion picture marvels at the beauty of childhood and the bloom of adulthood that is a frightening affair for the protagonist who has to battle devouring wolves.
Reflection Based on the three films
Each film genre comprises of unique elements that define the use of cinematic techniques and other aspects of art to bring out originality in the film. In The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the creator applies the silhouette animation that is a series of cutouts and the subsequent manipulation create the perfect animation. Each style brings a way of connecting the audience to the film. The magic expressed is designed through the frame-to-frame movement. Each style suits the tale it represents as illustrated in the Scarlet flower folk tale. The film technique is set to bring about the victory ending of the protagonists. It is a fairytale based on exaggerated facts and unrealistic information. The folktale is just a narrative for the community and does not have to be necessarily true. The horror and gothic genre are defined by darkness and grotesque scenarios. The film Company of Wolves uses animal and human characters to illustrate the grotesque nature of animal-human interactions.
Excellent presentation of the film comprises of the right characters who are the perfect fit for their allocated roles. For example, in the film Company of wolves, the protagonist physical attributes align with her roles as a naïve and innocent girl. The target audience should be able to interpret and relate to the different ideologies and facts presented in the film. The application of everyday aspects such as dreams, visualization, and fantasy enhances the audience’s entertainment prospects. Thus, the three films satisfy the requirements of excellent movies in almost all aspects.
Hopper, Keith. “Hairy on the Inside: Re-Visiting Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves”.” The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, vol. 29, no. 2, 2003, p. 17.
Lynley. “The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter.” Slap Happy Larry, 26 Apr. 2018, www.slaphappylarry.com/short-story-study-the-company-of-wolves-by-angela-carter/. Accessed 13 May 2019.
“The Scarlet Flower (1978) Movie.” YouTube, 8 Dec. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AHUTMMYOeI. Accessed 13 May 2019.
Yermolovich, Dmitry. “As You Translate, So Shall You Draw.” vol. 2, no. 27, 2016, pp. 11-23, yermolovich.ru/pdf_files/KnightLetter_2016_No_2_corrected.pdf. Accessed 13 May 2019.
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