A chapter from Film: The Front Line 1983. — J.R.
Born in Konstanz, Germany, 1942.
What do I know about Ulrike Ottinger? Not much, but enough to make me want to know more. Admittedly, I’ve seen only her last two features. And on the basis of a single viewing about a year ago, Freak Orlando is a decidedly uneven film, definitely hit-or-miss in its overall thrust, and conceivably full of as many misses as hits. Like it or not, though, the film can be regarded as a kind of climactic summa of the performance-oriented European avant-garde film, from Carmelo Bene to Philippe Garrel to Marc’O to the collaborations of Pedro Portbella* to Christopher Lee – to cite the names of four leading figures of excitement and interest in this category whose careers I lost track of after moving back to the U.S. from Europe in 1977. Insofar as Freak Orlando can be regarded as the Monterey Pop or Woodstock of the European avant-garde performance movement, it’s a valuable and fascinating document to have, and one therefore has reason to look forward to its release in this country…Ticket of No Return, on the other hand, strikes me as a fully achieved work — one of the few true masterpieces of the contemporary German avant-garde cinema – making Ottinger an obligatory inclusion for this book.… Read more »