Programmed by Daniela Persico
Summer 1939: Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwarzenbach leave Europe for Asia. Ella hopes to make a film, and help Annemarie get off drugs. In Kabul she realizes she’s lost all certainties. Alone she travels in British India while war ravages Europe. Her texts, film footage and photographs tell the story of a journey, a film, a year, a woman.
More philological than the other archive documentaries, “Ella Maillart - Double Journey” is the result of an attentive study of a very dense corpus of visual documents left by a pair of intellectuals, Maillart herself, a politically engaged photographer, and the writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach. As the clouds of the First World War gather, their trip to Kafiristan (now part of Afghanistan) becomes the symbol of a flight from the Nazi nightmare but also the sign of a quest that could transform the exotic into a more complex vision of the society of the future. And although the sensorial editing opens up an imaginative dimension, the off-camera commentary (taken from Maillart’s letters and diaries) accurately develops the explorer’s state of mind and her very modern ideas of gender. A journey into the past that also turns into an in-depth reflection on conflict – still very much a topical issue.
Programmer and critic