2575 Bancroft Way (Between College and Telegraph)
Berkeley, California CA

Part of the film series ARRR, MATEY: PIRATES AND PIRACY.

This is a rare, hard-to-find movie, not available on DVD.

Madame X, An Absolute Ruler
Ulrike Ottinger (Germany, 1977)

(Madame X: Eine absolute Herrscherin). From her pirate junk the Orlando, Madame X, played to the hilt by the pitiless Tabea Blumenschein, sends out a radical communiqué: “To all women . . . offer world . . . full of gold . . . love . . . adventure at sea.” The crew, seven women from seven professions (among them, Yvonne Rainer as Josephine de Collage), is assembled from those daring enough to forfeit the boredom and safety of their everyday lives for the uncertainty of the (patriarchal) pelagic. The Orlando sets sail and upon its deck a ritual of power unfolds. Ottinger's fem-navigated craft holds an aestheticized and fanatical cargo, cutting through waves of masculine dominion. The piratical crew interacts in grand seventies-style performative tableaux, fixed by feminist allegory, stilted dialogue, and signifying attire. If Madame X offers her cutlass-bearing crew the world, in return she demands subjugation to her absolute reign. Still, the liberated booty will be theirs and theirs alone as they courageously raise the unwavering flag of female piracy.

—Steve Seid

• Written, Photographed by Ottinger. With Tabea Blumenschein, Roswitha Janz, Irene von Lichtenstein, Yvonne Rainer. (141 mins, In German with English subtitles and English, Color, 16mm, From Women Make Movies)

Official Website: http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/pfa_programs/pirates/index.html

Added by larrybob on August 30, 2006