Paris Calligrammes

Paris Calligrammes

Direction: Ulrike Ottinger


Deutschland, Frankreich, 2019
129 Min.

Die Rüden Sing Me A Song

zero one film in Coproduction with Ideale Audience (F).
Funded by BKM, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, FFA, DFFF and CNC (F).

Rental: Real Fiction Filmverleih
World Distribution: Lightdox

World Premiere: 22.02.2020, Berlinale



In a rich torrent of archival audio and visuals, paired with extracts from her own artworks and films, Ottinger resurrects the old Saint-Germain- des-Prés and Latin Quarter, with their literary cafés and jazz clubs, and revisits encounters with Jewish exiles, life with her artistic community, the worldviews of Parisian ethnologists and philosophers, the political upheavals of the Algerian War and May 1968, and the legacy of the colonial era. “I followed the footsteps of my heroines and heroes,” Ottinger narrates. “Wherever I found them, they will appear in this film too.”

,,In 1962, as a young artist, I came to live and work in Paris. That period until 1969, when I left the city, was not only one of the most formative for me, it was also an era of intellectual, political, and social upheaval in modern history. The film PARIS CALLIGRAMMES combines my personal memories of the 1960s with a portrait of the city and a social cartography of the age. Like Guillaume Appolinaire’s poetry collection Calli- grammes: Poèmes de la paix et de la guerre (Calligrams: Poems of Peace and War), I have given it the form of a filmic “picture-poem” (calligram) in which the words and images, complemented by language, sound, and music, form a mosaic that emerges from the vivacity of those exciting years while speaking to the fragility of all cultural and political achievements. The Ariadne thread through the film is a walk across Paris with many stops where topics are raised out of any chronological order. In the tradition of the flâneur, I visit focal points in the city that were meaningful to me personally and to the story of the 1960s, sites where significant political events transpired, important cultural and artistic encounters occurred, and new communal ways of life evolved. Not only was Paris in that time a “melting pot” of intellectuals and artists from all over the world, it was also undergoing the difficult political era of decolonization. The War in Algeria, and later the Vietnam War, over-shadowed the period of reawakening after the Second World War and brought people from the colonies and political conflicts into the capital. Thus my friendships that developed in those years were so international and colorful, so exciting and intense." (Ulrike Ottinger)


Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival

Berlinale Kamera für Ulrike Ottinger

SWR Dokufestival

Preis für einen Film über Künstlerinnen und Künstler oder die Entstehung von Kunst der Norbert Daldrop Förderung für Kunst und Kultur


written and directed by Ulrike Ottinger
DoP: Ulrike Ottinger
Editing: Anette Fleming
Sounddesign & Re-Recording Mix: Detlef Schitto
Original Sound: Timothée Alazraki
Archive: Marguerite Vappereau
Line Producer: Corina Ziller, Claire Lion
Commissioning Editor ZDF/3sat: Udo Bremer
Coproducers: Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Gérald Collas
Producers: Thomas Kufus, Kornelia Theune