Ottinger returned to Mongolia to craft her incredible epic documentary portrait of reindeer herders on the far Northern steppes. While offering rare glimpses into the shamanic ceremonies, hunts, weddings and amusements that color the herders’ lives, Taiga uses its nine hours to resist any notion of the nomads as simply “exotic” by creating a fully immersive encounter with the Mongolians daily routines and rituals. Bearing mesmerizing witness to a world seemingly out of time, Taiga is ultimately a study in contrasts: between the vast steppes and the intimacy of the nomads’ private spaces, between the mobility of the nomadic life and the fixity of Ottinger’s camera, between pre-modern practices and their contemporary variations. —Harvard Film Archive
Ulrike Ottinger (born June 6, 1942) is a German filmmaker, documentarian and photographer. She is the daughter of the artist-painter Ulrich Ottinger.
From 1959 she was a visiting student at the Academy of Arts in Munich and worked as a painter.
From 1962 to 1968, she worked as a freelance artist in Paris and studied etching with Johnny Friedlaender among other studies. They participated in several exhibitions. In 1966 she wrote her first screenplay, entitled Die Mongolische Doppelschublade.
Ottinger returned to West Germany in 1969 and, in cooperation with the Film Seminar at the University of Konstanz, founded the film club “Visuell”, which she directed until 1972. She also headed a gallery and the associated "galeriepress”, where they edited works by contemporary artists.
During this time she met Tabea Blumenschein and Magdalena Montezuma, both of whom have been cast as lead actresses in her films since 1972. Ottinger developed her own bizarre… read more
Most documentaries, hell most films, have an urge to announce themselves immediately. To declare their importance and reason for existence. There is a patience in this film I don't think I've ever witnessed before. Ottinger puts absolute trust in the people of this place and the audience she asks to try and understand. The difficulty of ethnography is in not making the distinct common, and the mundane exotic.