Chamisso’s Shadow: A Journey to the Bering Sea in Three Chapters. Chapter 2, Part 1: Chukotka
In 2014, Ottinger journeyed to the distant regions of the Bering Sea—to Alaska, then Chukotka, and on to Kamchatka—following along the paths of historic expeditions and explorers, such as the naturalist Georg Willem Steller and Vitus Bering; later, Captain James Cook; and, still later, the poet and botanist Adelbert von Chamisso, who traveled with Otto von Kotzebue. Over a three-month period, Ottinger films the remarkable landscape, flora, and fauna; documents encounters with local residents, who subsist off the land and sea; and keeps a logbook of her experiences. Her observations enter into a fascinating dialogue with the logbooks and records of past explorers. A work of great beauty—possibly Ottinger’s magnum opus—this multipart film holds appeal for those interested in nature, history, geography, science, ethnography, indigenous cultures, art, and cinema, and should be more widely known.