“Chukotka and Wrangel Island”
Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 2016 • Germany
Starring Hanns Zischler, Burghart Klaussner, Thomas Thieme
Unfolding across three chapters and twelve hours, this ethnographic epic documents director Ulrike Ottinger’s journey along the Bering Sea, through Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and the Kamchatka and Chukchi Peninsulas. Tracing the routes of historical explorers and naturalists such as Georg Wilhelm Steller, Vitus Bering, James Cook, and Adelbert von Chamisso (the nineteenth-century poet and botanist from whom the film draws its title), Ottinger crafts a reflective and awe-inspiring account of the Indigenous cultures, colonialist forces, landscapes, flora, and fauna that define the region.