Written, Directed & Photographed by Ulrike Ottinger
Available with either German narration by Ottinger or English narration by Jenny Agutter
“I was 20 years young, and I’d come to Paris to become an important young artist. In my euphoria, I wanted to convert all of my experiences into art … How could I make a film from the perspective of the very young artist I remember with the experience of the older artist I am today?”
German avant-garde filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger immerses us in her Paris of the 1960s – a vibrant community of European artists, writers, philosophers, and activists (Max Ernst, Marcel Marceau, Paul Célan, Walter Mehring, Hans Arp, Jean Genet, Camus, Juliet Greco, et alia), and the constellation of sites where they converged: Franz Picard’s eponymous antiquarian bookstore, Johnny Friedlaender’s atelier de gravure, fashion photographer Willy Maywald’s studio, Henri Langlois & Lotte Eisner’s Cinémathèque Française, Brasserie Lipp. Capturing both the glamour and political commotion (the Algerian War, May 1968) with archival footage, photos, and personal artifacts, Ottinger’s essayistic documentary is at once memoir, social history, and love letter to Paris—where the alchemy of Marxism, Dadaism, Surrealism, jazz, and post-colonial debate spawned a generation of fervid productivity, along with Ottinger’s own creative coming-of-age.
Presented with support from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Fund, and the Helen Frankenthaler Endowed Fund for Films on Art.
2019 131 MINS. GERMANY / FRANCE ICARUS FILMS
Virtual Cinema program supported by the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation.
“[A] political and personal masterwork… The film is an extraordinary sort of aesthetico-political nonfiction bildungsroman, in which Ottinger fuses her self-portraiture and her reminiscences with the life of the city and the ideas of the times, as she encountered them...a work of vital and energetic modernism. [Ottinger] narrates her experiences and delivers her trenchant observations in a spontaneous, seemingly casually associative voice-over that accompanies a prodigious, absorbing, and wide-ranging collage of archival images and film clips, whether from features, documentaries, news sources, or personal collections.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“An enriching journey through Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris of the 1960s, told in a way that deftly balances past and present to paint a picture of a threshold era of positives and negatives… captures the zeitgeist as experienced by a young woman eager to soak up the cultural riches around her, which she then distilled through her own sensibility to create paintings reflecting the era’s upheavals.”
– Jay Weissberg, Variety