Ottinger's Paris Calligrammes Documents Activism of 1960s Paris

German artist Ulrike Ottinger's latest film begins from the perspective of autobiography. Paris Calligrammes describes her experiences as a young artist living in Paris in the 1960s, when she came into contact with the intellectual and artistic community surrounding Fritz Picard’s antiquarian bookshop, Librairie Calligrammes, and experienced the breadth of world cinema as a denizen of the Cinémathèque Française.

The film widens into a portrait of Paris in that historical moment—a time capsule of social awakening in the aftermath of the Algerian War of Independence and in the wake of student protests against the Vietnam War. This extraordinarily beautiful work bears Ottinger’s signature in its attention to place, historical artifact, and intellectual firmament.

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