Paris Calligrammes

Dir: Ulrike Ottinger
Germany / France / 2020 / 131mins

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Paris Calligrammes is filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger’s love letter to the city where she came of age, and her explorations of her own artistic growth, fueled by bookstores, jazz clubs, workshops and cafés.

One of Germany's most prominent contemporary avant-garde artists, Ottinger spent several years in Paris in the 1960s. Looking back, she moulds her extensive and ebullient archive of images, film and memories to invoke a portrait of an artist and a city during a period of great personal, creative and political development. 

From her time at a legendary bookstore, to the studio where she learned the art of etching, and her embrace of the French New Wave through the Cinémathèque Française, Ottinger conjures up the cafés and streets where personal artistic ferment bled into political action against the war in Algeria—and, ultimately, to the protests of May 1968.