GOETHE FILMS: Ulrike Ottinger in Asia
Series co-presented by Inside Out, MUFF Society & Reel Asian Film Festival
Ulrike Ottinger, the grande dame of German avant-garde film and “nomad filmmaker”, has worked in Asia numerous times in her five-decade career. Combining fact and fiction, Ottinger’s films follow her adventurous curiosity and create a unique poetic imagery. The three films JOHANNA D’ARC OF MONGOLIA (1989), EXILE SHANGHAI (1997) and UNDER SNOW (2011) presented by the Goethe-Institut follow women in Mongolia, exiles in Shanghai, and Kabuki artists in Japan.
Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia
(Germany 1989, 165 min), directed by Ulrike Ottinger, with Delphine Seyrig, Irm Hermann and others
German Film Award for Visual Production 1989
Prize of the Audience Jury, Montreal, 1989
Outstanding Film of the Year, London 1989
Berlinale, New York, San Francisco
While travelling on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, a group of Western women are taken hostage by the exotic, fierce Mongolian princess Ulan Iga. They spend a summer as captives in her nomadic tent village, and while the harshness of the Mongolian high desert is initially a trial for the pampered women, they ultimately adapt to these unfamiliar yet exhilarating experiences. Lady Windermere, a veteran ethnologist who also speaks Mongolian, finds herself the de facto leader of the women, while the young Giovanna, still very much a naïf, proves completely open to the traditions Princess Ulan Iga shares with her.
"Frequently eschewing narrative, incorporating incongruous characters, and capturing extended moments of arresting beauty and stunning landscapes, director Ulrike Ottinger takes the viewer on a nearly three-hour tour, during which disparate cultures collide but find common ground and, ultimately, a harmonious conclusion." - MoMA
"’Johanna’ represents the fanciful attempt of a unique German filmmaker to explore the way extremely different cultures migrate and influence each other. The theme of the wanderer/outsider, carrier of diverse ideas, runs through all of Ulrike Ottinger's strikingly original films." - San Francisco Chronicle
"[Ottinger] catches faces and gestures, clothing and accoutrements, tones of voices and the routines and gestures of work and pageantry alike – as well as mysteries and incomprehensions, dangers and uncertainties." - The New Yorker
(born 1942 in Constance) studied art in Munich from 1959-1961. She lived in Paris from 1962, working as a freelance artist and photographer. She has been living in Berlin since 1973 and is a member of the Academy of Arts and the European Film Academy in Berlin. Ottinger has been a unique and provocative voice in German cinema since her debut in the early 1970s. To date, she has directed 24 films, including feature-length fictions and experimental documentaries. Her films are held up for their radicality, not only of narrative but also of their treatment of sexuality and gender. Ottinger writes her own scripts, frequently operates the camera and even designs the often elaborate sets and lavish costumes showcased in her films. Ottinger has worked in photography throughout her career as an artist. Her other “Asian” films include “China. The Arts – The People” (1985), “Taiga” (1991/1992), “Seoul Women Happiness” (2008) and “The Korean Wedding Chest” (2008). In 2011, Ottinger’s creative output was celebrated in two major solo exhibitions and retrospectives of her films; she also received the Hannah Höch and the Berlinale Special Teddy Queer Film Award 2012. She is currently working on her next film "Paris Calligrammes", slated for 2018.
All GOETHE FILMS are open to audience 18+
Part of the Goethe-Institut’s focus on German Film
03/01 | 6:30pm | "Under Snow" by Ulrike Ottinger
03/01 | 9:00pm | "Ulrike Ottinger: Nomad from the Lake" by Brigitte Kramer
03/06 | 6:30pm | "Exile Shanghai" by Ulrike Ottinger