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For further information please download the film sheet (PDF).

It starts with "Peter Schlemihl's Miraculous Story", which tells of a man travelling the world in seven-league boots. Adelbert von Chamisso wrote the tale before setting off to Russia on a scientific expedition in 1815. He analysed the flora of Alaska and then explored the Northwest Passage, just like Cook and voyager Bering had done previously, the latter with physician and naturalist Steller in tow.
A porthole reveals the view. Thus begins Ottinger's journey from Alaska to Kamchatka via Chukotka, with her predecessors’ log books to accompany her on her way. While she describes Steller's texts as "dramatic", she considered Chamisso's diaries lively and sympathetic. Ottinger also keeps a log book that bears the mark of her ethnographic and artistic interests, which are also seen in images: water, fish, sea otters, stones, volcanoes, the tundra, houses, villages, photographs, objects, maps. The people she meets talk about their lives, about the past and present. She shows them working, singing and fishing, again and again. Time here doesn't mean the film's length but rather the centuries existing alongside one another, the time you gain in the cinema. (Stefanie Schulte Strathaus)

Production: Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduktion, Berlin; ZDF, Mainz; Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin / Potsdam
Screenplay: Ulrike Ottinger
Camera: Ulrike Ottinger
Format: DCP, Colour
Running time: 720 min; Chapter 1: 190 min; Chapter 2: 344 min; Chapter 3: 174 min
Languages: German, English, Russian

Photo: © Chamissos Schatten, 2014 © Ulrike Ottinger

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur