Ticket of No Return
(Bildnis einer Trinkerin)
B. Ruby Rich is a professor in the Social Documentation Program and Film + Digital Media Department at UC Santa Cruz.
Tabea Blumenschein, Magdalena Montezuma, Nina Hagen, Eddie Constantine,
Ottinger describes this melodrama as a portrait of “two unusual but also highly dissimilar women: one, rather Barefoot Contessa in style; the other, more Nights of Cabiria.” Both women are drinking themselves to death, one by conscious choice, the other unconsciously. Throughout the film, which is divided into stations in what amounts to a drinker’s sightseeing tour of Berlin’s underside, the two women attempt to meet, but alcohol impedes any communication. The first film in Ottinger’s Berlin trilogy (followed by Freak Orlando and The Image of Dorian Gray) is distinguished by her stunning use of color and composition, and features performances from some of the New German Cinema’s cult stars.