Streaming: Twelve Chairs

(Zwölf Stühle)

Digital Restoration
November 20, 2020–August 31, 2021


Georgi Deliev, Genadi Skarga, Svetlana Dyagilyeva, Boris Raev,

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In her glorious adaptation of Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov’s 1920s Soviet satirical novel, director/cinematographer Ottinger luxuriates in visual design, demonstrating her flair for location shooting and her love of color and light. Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages shine through the decay of post-Soviet neglect. Ottinger’s deliberately anachronistic mise-en-scène heightens the irony of this post-revolutionary tale of avarice, a comedic picaresque about two men in search of jewels hidden in the seat of a chair. As the backdrop and political context for this classic story, Ottinger creates a fascinating document of Ukraine circa 2004.

Susan Oxtoby
  • Ulrike Ottinger
Based On
  • The novel by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov

  • Ulrike Ottinger
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
  • German
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital streaming
  • 198 mins
  • Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art