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Chamisso’s Shadow: A Journey to the Bering Sea in Three Chapters. Chapter 2, Part 1: Chukotka

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The four parts of Chamisso's Shadow are also available as a bundle with a discounted rental fee; the link above is for Chapter 2, Part 1 only.


Rental fee: $12

Discounted fee for BAMPFA members: $8

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The second stage of Ulrike Ottinger’s voyage to the far north takes her to Chukotka, where Asia faces America across the narrow Bering Strait. Here, the indigenous cultures have much in common with those of Alaska, but with a different colonial overlay: in a port where Vitus Bering stopped on his expedition to discover the farthest reaches of Peter the Great’s empire, a statue of Lenin still presides over decaying Soviet-era buildings, relics of another obsolete nation. Interleaving centuries of past explorers’ accounts and vintage images with her own commentary and footage, Ottinger observes what has been altered and what has remained: a natural environment of stark beauty and a society of sea hunters still dependent on their catch of fish, seals, and whales. Extended sequences of seal butchering and the remains of whales decomposing on a beach bring a visceral reality and complexity to Ottinger’s observations of the interface between landscape, wildlife, and culture.


—Juliet Clark

  • Year
    2016
  • Runtime
    192 minutes
  • Language
    German, English, Russian
  • Country
    Germany
  • Director
    Ulrike Ottinger
  • Screenwriter
    Ulrike Ottinger
  • Cinematographer
    Ulrike Ottinger, Stefan Gohlke