Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia | Chicago Reader

Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia

I've only sampled this nearly three-hour 1989 extravaganza by German filmmaker and performance artist Ulrike Ottinger (Ticket of No Return, Freak Orlando), but most of what I saw whetted my appetite for more. The film centers on four female travelers on the Trans-Siberian Railway—Lady Windermere (one of the last performances by the great Delphine Seyrig), a German botanist (Fassbinder regular Irm Hermann), the Broadway star Fanny Ziegfeld, and a beautiful young student. (Peter Kern is also on board as a Catskills comic.) They get kidnapped by a band of wild Mongolian women riding camels, and what follows has been described as documentary combined with ironic narrative. In German with subtitles. 165 min.

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