A film journey to the Bering Sea in three chapters by Ulrike Ottinger.
Awarded best documentary film 2016 by the German Film Critics Association.
with logs by
Adelbert von Chamisso /voice Hanns Zischler
Georg Wilhelm Steller /voice Burghart Klaußner
Captain James Cook /voice Thomas Thieme
and Ulrike Ottinger /voice Ulrike Ottinger
Ulrike Ottinger’s latest film, Chamisso’s Shadow, took her to the far reaches of the Bering Sea in 2014. The wind, the waves, and an interest in people guided her to Kamchatka, Chukotka, Alaska, and the Aleutian Island chain. Here, far to the north, the Eurasian and American continents collide and spectacular seascapes and volcanic landscapes meet the eye. It is here that related ethnic groups and cultures intersect, marked by a long history of colonial over-forming, yet retaining parts of their indigenous language and ancient knowledge. And it is here that the economic and geopolitical interests of the inhabitants and global politics collide.
Inspired by historical accounts of famous explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt, Georg Wilhelm Steller, Reinhold and Georg Forster, and especially Adelbert von Chamisso, Ulrike Ottinger set out on her journey. Like them, she wrote her own logbook and took impressive pictures showing the landscapes, the plants and animals, and the people living there. With her own artistic-ethnographic eye, she links the historical reports, findings and pictorial representations with her personal travel notes and photographs. In this way, past and present come into contact in the film, and historical and cultural changes become clear. A tension is created between then and now that shows how inseparably the two belong together:
Just like the shadow and Peter Schlemihl, who first loses it in Adelbert von Chamisso’s “Wondrous Tale” and then chases it with seven-league boots across all continents.