Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia
DE, 1989, 168′, Eng. sub., Slo. sub.
Ulrike Ottinger’s epic adventure delineates a fantastic encounter between two different worlds. Seven western women travellers meet aboard the sumptuous, meticulously reconstructed Trans-Siberian Express, a rolling museum of European culture. Lady Windemere, an elegant ethnographer played by the incomparable Delphine Seyrig in her last screen role, regales a young companion with Mongol myths and lore while other passengers – a prim tourist (Irm Hermann), a brash Broadway chanteuse and an all-girl klezmer trio – revel in a campy dining car cabaret. Suddenly ambushed by a band of Mongol horsewomen, the company is abducted and taken to the plains of Inner Mongolia, embarking on a fantastic camel ride across the magnificent countryside. Breath-taking vistas, the lavish costumes of Princess Ulun Iga and her retinue, and the rituals of Mongol life are stunningly rendered by Ottinger’s cinematography.