Culture > Events > Ulrike Ottinger: Chamisso’s Shadow
Event Date: 20th Jul 2018 | 19:00
Ulrike Ottinger: Chamisso’s Shadow
The Regent Street Cinema 307 Regent St London W1B 2HW
A Journey to the Bering Sea in Three Chapters
Known for such daring and outlandish films as Madame X (1978), Ticket of No Return (1979) or Freak Orlando (1981), Ulrike Ottinger has also for many years pursued a passionate interest in travelling and exploring the daily lives, customs, myths, and histories of different cultures across the globe, whether for example in China (China. The Arts in its People, 1995), Eastern Europe (South East Passage, 2002), Mongolia (Taiga, 1991/92), or Korea (The Korean Wedding Chest, 2007).
Chamisso’s Shadow is the result of one of Ottinger’s most recent journeys which took her to the far North. In 2014, following the logbooks and writing of explorers such as Adelbert von Chamisso, Georg Wilhelm Steller, James Cook and others, the director travelled between Alaska and Kamchatka and north and south of the Bering Strait. Being her own camerawoman, her photographer’s eye captured people and their daily activities, on flora and fauna, often opening up the view to take in breathtaking landscapes. But she also listened and so the film also gives us the pleasure of hearing the many local voices talking about the here and now of their lives, while the thoughts and descriptions of the old explorers spoken by actors or Ottinger’s own observations take us into the past or into the wider realm of reflection. What we see and hear fuses into a compelling extended essay on how political changes and shifts of powers have played out in a specific region, where, in spite of its remoteness, oppression and enslavement took hold, a massive political event such as the Russian revolution erased traditions in one part while they remain visible in others, where contemporary and ancient ways of lives exist parallel to each other. Time is a crucial factor in Chamisso’s Shodow: the different amounts of time it took Ottinger and her predecessors to undertake their journeys, but also the time that elapsed between these expeditions as well as the mentioned simultaneity of past and present life styles. And there is the time it takes to watch Chamisso’s Shadow: 12 hours. But for a film that takes in so much, which, as Stefanie Schulte Strathaus of the International Forum of Young Film put it, shows the “centuries existing alongside each other”, and actually gains us time, it is actually relatively short.
Ulrike Ottinger: Chamisso’s Shadow.
A Journey to the Bering Sea in Three Chapters.
„But there on the sunny sands, a human shadow, not unlike my own, slid past, wandering alone and seemingly strayed from his Master. This sight awakened in me a powerful drive: shadow, thought I, are you looking for thy Master? Your Master I will be.“ (From Schlemihl by Adelbert von Chamisso)
Germany 2016, colour, 718 mins., DCP, With English subtitles.
Screenplay, Direction and Camera: Ulrike Ottinger, Editor: Bettina Blickwede, Sound: Sascha Heiny, produced by Ulrike Ottinger (Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduktion), Udo Bemer (Redaktion ZDF/3Sat), Jens Stubenrauch (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg), production company: Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduktion (Berlin)
When the film premiered at the Berlinale in 2016, it was shown in one day from 9am in the morning. Here in London its three parts will be shown over three days, with the longer chapter two shown on the 2nd day being divided by a break.
Presenting a 12 hour film always takes a little effort, and in this case it was only through the joined effort of the following partners that it could be organised: Birkbeck Institute for the Moving (BIMI), the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the Goethe-Institut and LUX. With support from theOpen City Documentary Film Festival, and in association with the German Screen Studies Network. We would like to thank the Regent Street Cinema for being the venue for this endeavor.
CHAMISSO'S SHADOW: CHAPTER 1 - ALASKA AND THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
7:00 PM - REGENT STREET CINEMA | FILM SCREENING
CHAMISSO'S SHADOW: CHAPTER 2 - PART 1: CHUKOTKA & PART 2: CHUKOTKA AND WRANGEL ISLAND
2:15 PM - REGENT STREET CINEMA | FILM SCREENING
CHAMISSO'S SHADOW: CHAPTER 3 – KAMTCHATKA AND BERING ISLAND
2:00 PM - REGENT STREET CINEMA | FILM SCREENING