Ulrike Ottinger: Berlin Trilogy
Ticket of No Return
dir. Ulrike Ottinger, West Germany, 1979, 35mm, German w/ English subtitles, 109 min.
A portrait of two unusual but also extremely different women. One rich, eccentric, hiding her feelings behind a rigid mask, consciously drinks herself to death. The other is a known drinker in town. In the course of the story they try to get to know each other, but they cannot come together. The background is Berlin, thrown open to a grotesque kind of sightseeing (drinkers’ geography), and complemented by authentic contributions from people who live here or are visiting, rock singers, writers, artists, taxi drivers. With Tabea Blumenschein, Magdalena Montezuma, Nina Hagen, and Eddie Constantine.
Ulrike Ottinger is a prolific German filmmaker who started her visual art career in Munich and Paris working in painting, photography, and performance. After relocating to Berlin in the early 1970s, she transitioned to filmmaking. Her “Berlin Trilogy” began with Ticket of No Return (1979), followed by Freak Orlando (1981), and Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press (1984). Collaborating on the films were Delphine Seyrig, Magdalena Montezuma, Veruschka von Lehndorff, Eddie Constantine, and Kurt Raab, as well as the composer Peer Raben. These three films demonstrate Ottinger’s unique approach to filmmaking, drawing from her experience with performance art—merging social critique with surrealist sci-fi fantasy.