Ulrike Ottinger’s epic Chamisso’s Shadow – the latest film from one of Germany’s most influential filmmakers and photographers – will be showing in three chapters over the course of a single weekend. Ottinger’s work, rarely exhibited in the UK, explores the world through images notable for their curiosity about different human cultures and for their visual power and intensity.
The film was inspired by the writings of Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 – 1838), a true renaissance man, a famed poet and botanist, who in 1815 joined the Russian ship Rurikfor in the Romanzow research expedition to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Ottinger uses the diaries of Chamisso, as well as those of Georg Wilhelm Steller and Captain James Cook to follow their journeys to ethnic groups living in the coastal areas of the Bering Sea.
Chamisso’s Shadow is a cinematic evocation of these travel experiences. Readings from the many, very vivid, observations from those early explorers are combined with Ottinger visual materials. Together they contrast and complement and enter into a dialogue that tells of the loss of knowledge of ancient cultural techniques and about learning anew.
Part 1: July 20th, 7pm – Alaska and the Aleutian Islands (193 min)
Part 2.1: July 21st, 2.15pm – Chukotka (192 min)
Part 2.2: July 21st, 7pm – Chukotka and Wrangel Island (156 min)
Part 3: July 22nd, 2pm – Kamtchatka and Bering Island (177 min)
We are pleased to partner on this screening, presented by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving (BIMI), The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the Goethe-Institut London and LUX Moving Image, in association with the German Screen Studies Network.
“Time here doesn’t mean the film’s length but rather the centuries existing alongside one another, the time you gain in the cinema.” – Berlinale Forum 2016.