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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (17)     +     OPENINGS (3)     +     DEADLINES (12)     +     CLOSINGS (6)
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Photo: courtesy U. Ottinger

GOETHE FILMS: Ulrike Ottinger in Asia

Presented by the Goethe-Institut
March 1 + 6 + 8

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, and are contextualized by a documentary about the filmmaker.

“An icon and cultural and emancipatory inspiration in the German film scene” - Berlinale 2012 Special Teddy Award

Series co-presented by Inside Out, MUFF Society & Reel Asian Film Festival

March 1, 6:30pm: Under Snow (Germany 2011, 103 min), by Ulrike Ottinger
Co-presented by the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Toronto Japanese Film Festival & the Japan Foundation Toronto

In Echigo in Japan, snow piles up meters-high and blankets the countryside and villages well into the month of May. The people have developed customs for their unusual daily life. Time follows a different rhythm: children build fanciful snow castles in which they cook and sing, the women weave colourful fabric and fix the dye by exposing it to the snow. In order to record their very distinctive forms of everyday life, their festivals and religious rituals, Ulrike Ottinger journeyed to the mythical snow country – accompanied by two Kabuki performers.

Canadian premiere

“Ottinger’s film captivates with its awesome link of seriousness and mirth, sharpness and poetry, epos and ease, myth and history, tradition and modern age.” - Die Welt

March 1, 9pm: Ulrike Ottinger: Nomad from the Lake (Germany 2012, 86 min), by Brigitte Kramer
Co-presented by Hot Docs & POV

Ulrike Ottinger’s career has its creative roots in her home town on Lake Constance at the German-Swiss-Austrian border. Describing key moments in her life, including the impact of student protests in Paris and her move from painting to filmmaking, Kramer traces Ottinger’s artistic development. Through interviews and film excerpts, this intimate personal close-up portrays one of the most important voices in German film.

Berlinale 2012

“Even when I go for a walk, I always see images, I always think ‘I would frame it like…’. That’s why I like going for walks so much.” - Ulrike Ottinger

March 6, 6:30pm: Exile Shanghai (Germany/Israel 1997, 275 min), by Ulrike Ottinger
Co-presented by the Toronto Jewish Film Society & Toronto Jewish Film Foundation

Six life stories of German, Austrian and Russian Jews intersect in exile in Shanghai. The documentary traces their lives through narratives, photographs, documents and new images of one of Asia's biggest metropolises. With their numerous contradictory conflicting histories and populations, the documentary’s episodes converge to shape a startling new account of a historic exile.

Berlinale 1997 International Forum of New Cinema

“EXILE SHANGHAI is an extraordinary cultural odyssey that affectionately conjures up the lost Jewish world of Shanghai, the most fabulous city of the Far East.” - Berlinale

March 8, 6:30pm: Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia (Germany 1989, 165 min), by Ulrike Ottinger

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.

German Film Award for Visual Production 1989
Prize of the Audience Jury, Montreal 1989
Outstanding Film of the Year, London 1989

"[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

GOETHE FILMS screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4, 350 King St W, Toronto, ON
With English subtitles; open to audiences 18+
Tickets $10 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person or by phone 1-888-599-8433 or online

Ticket raffles, updates & background on our blog "German Film @ Canada"


Program & Media Contact:
Jutta Brendemühl
Program Curator
Goethe-Institut Toronto






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