Ulrike Ottinger Retrospective:
Madame X: An Absolute Ruler

Director: Ulrike Ottinger
West Germany / 1978 / 147 min
In German with English subtitles

The hard, merciless pirate ruler of the China Sea, Madame X sends out a missive to women, inviting them to leave domestic security behind for a life of dangerous adventure, but when a panoply of different women—including Yvonne Rainer on roller skates—arrive to serve as her shipmates, they find themselves slaves to a new tyrannical power. With her first feature, Ulrike Ottinger is already inimitable, making use of extravagant costumes courtesy of Tabea Blumenschein and a languid style that’s all her own.