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Through the Looking-Glass…Top 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2018: #8. Ulrike Ottinger’s The Beautiful Woman Sleeping

The Beautiful Woman Sleeping

Director: Ulrike Ottinger
Writer: Ulrike Ottinger, Elfriede Jelinek

At the beginning of 2016, we had listed The Beautiful Woman Sleeping, a new project from German auteur Ulrike Ottinger, as one of our most anticipated titles for 2017. However, it looks like we will have to wait a bit longer. The provocative artist is perhaps best remembered for 1981’s Freak Orlando, starring Magdalena Montezuma and Delphine Seyrig, an exemplification of her own surrealist style. Ottinger is also an applauded documentarian, her last project being 2011’s Under Snow. But it’s been well over a decade since we’ve seen Ottinger tackle a fictional narrative, the last being 2004’s Twelve Chairs. Around 2007/2008, an announcement was made for Ottinger to make a feminist vampire film about the infamous historical figure Countess Bathory, set to star Tilda Swinton and Isabelle Huppert. The project never got off the ground (and Julie Delpy went ahead with her own production of the subject with The Countess). However, in early 2015, Amour Fou Films announced two projects with writer Elfriede Jelinek (author of The Piano Teacher and winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in literature), one being Ottinger’s Le Belle Dormeuse (The Beautiful Woman Sleeping), which sounds to be, if not the same, a very closely related film to the Bathory treatment.

Cast: TBA

Production Co./Producer(s): Amour Fou Films’ Bady Minck and Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu.

U.S. Distributor: Rights available.
Release Date: The developmental stage of Ottinger’s return to narrative filmmaking has been a long haul. Announced in 2015, production company Amour Fou confirms the project is still in development, and will likely not start filming until 2018. Ottinger competed in Berlin in 1989 with Joan Arc of Mongolia, but it sounds like we’ll be lucky to see this by the end of 2018, and while we’d love to see her ready in time for Cannes (the title would be a coup for Locarno), Venice might be likely, or Berlin 2019.

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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