The official synopsis wrote:
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 aesthetic is strictly stylized, exhibiting itself without overwhelming us.
Patricia White, Swarthmore College wrote:
“Ulrike Ottinger has a larger body of work than almost any other lesbian filmmaker, and her rarely seen first feature contains most of the elements that make her work so unique and ahead of its time. In this extravagantly aestheticized, postmodern pirate film she appropriates the male genre for feminist allegory. Madame X — the cruel, uncrowned ruler of the China seas — promises “gold, love, and adventure” to all women who’ll leave their humdrum lives behind. Gathered aboard her ship, Orlando, are a range of types: a frumpy housewife, a glamorous diva, a psychologist, a very German outdoorswoman, a bush pilot, an artist (played by Yvonne Rainer), and a “native” beauty. Their utopia devolves into betrayal and self-destruction, leading to eventual transformation—as the power games of the outside world are ritualized among the women. Tabea Blumenschein, who designed the film’s outrageous costumes, appears in a dual role as the pirate queen and the ship’s lovely, leather clad figurehead. Refusing conventional storytelling and realism for a rich, non-synchronous soundtrack, the film invites its audience along for an unprecedented journey that celebrates the marginal.”
Karsten Witte, Die Zeit wrote:
What makes the film disturbing is that women willingly succumb to the fascination of rituals of power and – in men’s imagination – abandon the territory of innocence and the presumption of women’s moral superiority, rejecting the gentleness of other women’s films, which, like Agnès Varda’s last work, promise ‘love without cares’. This film shows not a trace of fearfulness. On the contrary, it is calculated to evoke fear in those who put up resistance against the fascination of this ritualized and totally aestheticized power.
2.06GB | 2h 25mn | 640×480 | avi