Screening and talk: Ulrike Ottinger, Michael Oppitz und Bernd Scherer
Ulrike Ottinger is a multiple award-winning filmmaker, artist, photographer, writer, theater and radio director. Born in Konstanz in 1942, at the age of twenty she moved to Paris, where she lived for six years as a freelance artist and attended lectures by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Louis Althusser and Pierre Bourdieu in art history, religious studies and anthropology. In 1966 she wrote her first screenplay entitled Die mongolische Doppelschublade. It was followed by a variety of experimental documentaries and feature films (including Madame X, 1977; Freak Orlando, 1981; Südostpassage, 2002; Under Snow, 2011) covering a wide range of mythological and ethno-poetic works as well as photographic works exploring the cultures of various East Asian and Southeast European countries, but also the society of her own country. Her films have been screened at international festivals from Cannes to Toronto and have received many awards, including the audience award in Montréal and the German Film Prize (Gold, for Johanna D’Arc of Mongolia) in 1989 and the German Film Critics’ Award in 1986 (for China. Die Künste – Der Alltag) and 2008 (for Prater). In 2011 she was conferred the Hannah Höch Prize of the State of Berlin for her life’s work.
Michael Oppitz is an ethnologist and, until his retirement, was a professor at the University of Zurich and director of the affiliated Ethnographic Museum. He gained worldwide renown for his field research of shamanism in the Himalayas. In the late 1970s he traveled three times to West Nepal, where he studied the mountain people of northern Magar for seven years. This resulted in the epic documentary Shamans of the Blind Country (1980), which became a classic of visual anthropology, as well as a picture book of the same name. His other publications include: Notwendige Beziehungen. Abriss der Strukturalen Anthropologie (1975), Kunst der Genauigkeit. Wort und Bild in der Genauigkeit (1989), Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India (2008) and Die verlorene Schrift (2008).