Chamisso’s Shadow (1): Alaska and the Aleutian Islands

Scroll down

This is the first part of Ulrike Ottinger’s epic Chamisso’s Shadow, which will be showing in three chapters over the course of one weekend.

The film was inspired by the writings of Adelbert von Chamisso (1781 – 1838), a true renaissance man, a famed poet and botanist, who in 1815 joined the Russian ship Rurikfor an expedition to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Ottinger uses the diaries of Chamisso, as well as those of Georg Wilhelm Steller and Captain James Cook to follow their journeys to ethnic groups living in the coastal areas of the Bering Sea.

This section is interspersed with passages from Peter Schlemihl’s Miraculous Story, a short story written by Chamisso, as well as by accounts, songs and stories of the people Ottinger encounters on her voyage.

The screening will be introduced by Helen de Witt.

Part 2.1

Part 2.2

Part 3

Tickets are £7 for each part, and will automatically discount to £20 total if you purchase all 4 parts together.

This screening has been organised by the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving (BIMI), The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), the Goethe-Institut and LUX. With support from the Open City Documentary Film Festival, and in association with the German Screen Studies Network

Helen de Witt is an independent lecturer and curator. She teaches at Birkbeck University of London, University of the Arts London, and the National Film and Television School. She is programme advisor for the BFI London Film Festival Experimenta section for international artists’ moving image. Previously Helen was Head of Cinemas at the BFI, and prior to that Festivals Producer for the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare. Helen is also a director of The Service Co-op, an independent production company dedicated to making films about social justice, the arts and creative collaborations.  She has published on independent cinema and artists’ film.

BBFC rating
Running time
193 mins
Other features
Ulrike Ottinger

Book tickets

July 20th

Close Newsletter sign-up