Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin,1977, 141’
Conversation with Ulrike Ottinger and Luca Lo Pinto, 8.00 pm
Screening, 8.30 pm

4 April 2023

Ulrike Ottinger is a filmmaker and visual artist, unique and provocative voice and a leading figure in avant-garde cinema since the early 1970s. On Tuesday, April 4, Ottinger will present and introduce in a conversation with Luca Lo Pinto the screening of her first feature film, released in 1977, Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin, a fascinating “lesbofeminist piracy” film that has since become a cult. Subverting the realism of conventional storytelling, and in particular the traditional male-centered pirate narrative, the director tells a complex story of personal and social upheaval, of the search for sexual identity as well as the dynamics of power, subordination and inclusion in a confined space.


Ottinger sees her work as a layering of political, social and aesthetic strata, analyzing the myth of mass culture, characterized by on-screen pomp, as well as intricate, ethnographic detail: androgyny, lesbianism, and gender ambiguity are constant themes in her relentless quest realized through conflict, destruction, role reversals and open provocations. 

Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin is the story of a group of women who escape patriarchal tyranny to follow Madame X aboard her ship, the Orlando. The infamous pirate queen The infamous pirate queen’s call is made to the German forest ranger Flora Tannenbaum, Josephine de Collage, an European artist, Betty Brillo, an American housewife, the psychologist Carla Freud –Goldmund, the photo model Blow Up, the bush pilot Omega Zentauri and Noa-Noa, a woman from the South Seas.


Thus, the team comes together as a female crew under the imperious command of the authoritative commander, amid adventures filled with eroticism, jealousy and conflict. On the women’s ship Orlando the flags of attack, leather, weapons, lesbian love and death are raised with a beauty which dispenses with a total domination of the viewer’s gaze. 


The film will be shown in original language with English subtitles, in the auditorium.
Free entrance until capacity is reached.
On this occasion, the current exhibitions will be open until 7.30 pm 



ULRIKE OTTINGER lived in Paris from 1962 to 1968, working as a painter and photographer. In 1966, she wrote her first screenplay, Die mongolische Doppelschublade. In 1969, she founded the filmclub Visuell in Konstanz, which she headed until 1972. She has lived in Berlin since 1973. Since then, she has made 21 films, as well as directing plays and operas. Her films have been screened at every major international film festival. Her work has also been honored with numerous retrospectives and exhibitions from Mexico to Shanghai, New York to Oslo.