Helen La Belle (1957)

14 min.

Direction and animation: Lotte Reiniger; production: Fantasia Productions Ltd., London

A stop-motion “filigree ballet” in color by famed silhouette animation pioneer, Lotte Reininger, based on the 1864 comic operetta, “La belle Hélène” by Jacques Offenbach, this short film retells the tale of the judgement of Paris and of his abduction of Helen in the style of a burlesque parody.

Reininger’s gorgeously wrought version stays true to the spirit of the opera — there is no dialog, the music of the operetta accompanies the animation (though not in the video version above) — and it displays many humorous touches, including the gods as capricious meddlers, a caricatured depiction of Menelaus as an old man, and Helen sailing away in pursuit of Paris on a giant goose.

More:

https://www.lottereiniger.de/filme/helen_la_belle.php

https://www.awn.com/mag/issue1.3/articles/moritz1.3.html

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