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The female nude represents The Idea, the naked truth.The film tells the story of the idea since it's created, how it is rejected and condemned by the powers that be, how she protects the ones that want to make a change, how she is finally made known to the world through radio, newspapers etc.. and in the end how she returns to her maker. It's social allegory, you have to see it to believe the density and poetic vision of this film.
Berthold Bartosch was born in Bohemia in today's Czech republic in 1893. In 1920 he moved to Berlin, where he later met silhouette animator Lotte Reiniger. Bartosch worked with her on the film 'The Adventures of Prince Achmed'. In 1930 he started working on the adaptation of The Idea - a book of woodcuts published by Frans Masereel in 1920.
Masereel first worked with Bartosch, but after a few weeks he dropped out of the project after seeing how tedious work animation was. Bartosch continued working alone for 2 years to complete the film. 45.000 images were animated on sheets of glass with washtinted blacks and soap, with 100 watts light bulbs illuminating the work. His work study was 10 x 12 feet and half the space was filled with the sheets of glass.
When the film came out in 1932, the newspapers referred to it as "Masereel's L'idée" not recognizing all the painfull work Bartosch went through. This is the only surviving film of Bartosch, who later made Cosmos, a 109 minutes film, which the Gestapo destroyed.
Thanks for the explanation, Monty.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #9 in Annecy Festival's 100 Films for a Century of Animation
This movie ranks #265 in Amos Vogel's Film as a Subversive Art