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'The Korean Wedding Chest': Ulrike Ottinger in top artistic form

October 01, 2009|Betsy Sharkey

For Ulrike Ottinger, film is a canvas and the acclaimed German documentarian is as much artist as filmmaker. And so it is again with "The Korean Wedding Chest," screening Monday night at REDCAT. It opens on a snowy day, a car driving through a tunnel deep inside the belly of a mountain, as the narrator tells the story of the Ginseng man and woman, transformed into humans and given this advice: Live among them and you will understand them. They are words Ottinger took to heart, capturing the collision of ancient tradition and modern culture on the subject of love and marriage in Korea in a film that echoes the beauty, precision and care of the rituals she examines. It is a rare chance to see the stunning, quiet work of Ottinger, whose films tell us only what we need to know. Nothing more, nothing less.

-- Betsy Sharkey

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