Directed by Ulrike Ottinger

Directed by Ulrike Ottinger

13 Episodes

Defiantly unconventional, extravagantly stylized, and gleefully transgressive, the sprawling cinematic pageants of Ulrike Ottinger swirl avant-garde provocation, inquisitive ethnography, punk surrealism, and baroque theatricality into some of the most wondrously unclassifiable spectacles of the New German Cinema. Whether seeing Cold War Germany’s divided capital through radically imaginative eyes in her early Berlin Trilogy or exploring the Mongolian steppes and the Bering Sea in her more recent documentaries, Ottinger blends fantasy and observation in her stunning, painterly images. Lesbian pirates (MADAAME X: AN ABSOLUTE RULER), Dorian Gray in drag (DORIAN GRAY IN THE MIRROR OF THE YELLOW PRESS), self-flagellating leather daddies (FREAK ORLANDO), and an ennui-stricken socialite drinking herself into oblivion (TICKET OF NO RETURN) are just some of the outré (and always outrageously costumed) oddballs populating the Ottinger canon, which audaciously reimagines what cinema can be and for whose gaze it is made.

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Directed by Ulrike Ottinger
  • Ulrike Ottinger Interview

    Episode 1

    This interview with director Ulrike Ottinger was recorded in 2022.

  • Laocoon & Sons

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger and Tabea Blumenschein • 1975 • West Germany
    Starring Tabea Blumenschein, Ulrike Ottinger

    Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando,” Ulrike Ottinger’s first film unfolds in a fantastical world inhabited only by women, where the extraordinary Esmeralda del Rio (the direct...

  • Madame X: An Absolute Ruler

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1977 • West Germany
    Starring Tabea Blumenschein, Roswitha Janz, Monika von Cube

    Ulrike Ottinger’s singular debut feature is an extravagantly stylized lesbian pirate spectacle that radically deconstructs decades of male-oriented adventures. Madame X (Tabea Blumensche...

  • Ticket of No Return

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1979 • West Germany
    Starring Tabea Blumenschein, Lutze, Magdalena Montezuma

    The outré imagination of German New Wave visionary Ulrike Ottinger is on dazzling display in this alcohol-soaked tour through the Berlin underworld. A rich, unnamed, enigmatic woman (Ottinge...

  • Freak Orlando

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1981 • West Germany
    Starring Magdalena Montezuma, Delphine Seyrig, Albert Heins

    Ulrike Ottinger transforms Virginia Woolf’s queer feminist classic ORLANDO into an outrageous camp spectacle in which a gender-fluid time traveler (Magdalena Montezuma) zigzags across hi...

  • Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1984 • West Germany
    Starring Veruschka von Lehndorff, Delphine Seyrig, Tabea Blumenschein

    The final installment in Ulrike Ottinger’s Berlin Trilogy (following TICKET OF NO RETURN and FREAK ORLANDO) casts Delphine Seyrig as the nefarious Fritz Lang supervillain Dr. M...

  • Joan of Arc of Mongolia

    Episode 7

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1989 • West Germany, France
    Starring Badema, Lydia Billiet, Christoph Eichhorn

    Ulrike Ottinger reinvents the adventure film with her singular queer feminist sensibility and eye for camp spectacle. While traveling aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway, a coterie of inter...

  • Taiga

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 1992 • Germany

    This meditative documentary is Ulrike Ottinger’s monumental account of the extensive time she spent in Mongolia, patiently capturing the rituals and rhythms of everyday life among the nomadic people of the country’s North. Breathtaking landscapes and ...

  • Prater

    Episode 9

    Directed by Ulrike Ottinger • 2007 • Germany, Austria
    Starring Veruschka von Lehndorff, Robert Kaldy-Karo

    Vienna’s Prater is an amusement park and a desire machine. No mechanical invention, novel idea, or sensational innovation could escape incorporation into the Prater. The breathtaking, often ...

  • Chamisso’s Shadow: CHAPTER 1

    Episode 10

    “Alaska and the Aleutian Islands”
    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, th...

  • Chamisso’s Shadow: CHAPTER 2, PART 1

    Episode 11

    “Chukotka”
    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...

  • Chamisso’s Shadow: CHAPTER 2, PART 2

    Episode 12

    “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 Al...

  • Chamisso’s Shadow: CHAPTER 3

    Episode 13

    “Kamtchatka and Bering 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 A...