Ulrike Ottinger

The Renaissance Society

Travel remains the surest path to the pleasures and politics of defamiliarization. German independent filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger’s Southeast Passage: A Journey to New Blank Spots on the Map of Europe, 2002, is a three-part, six-hour-plus digital video that records aspects of a journey through sections of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Turkey. In the context of a contemporary Europe committed to some kind of union from the Atlantic to the Urals, Ottinger’s film is a reminder of regional difference as an antidote to continental hegemony. A kind of nonnarrative post-travelogue, the work is at times meandering and slowly paced, as Ottinger casually films the towns and landscapes that trickle endlessly by her car window, and at times intense and tautly focused, as she carefully shoots unexpected examples of Art Nouveau architecture, long-abandoned Jewish areas, and

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