Hello, dear film lovers! I hope you had a great time on the Berlinale so far; met interesting people, watched inspiring movies and drank a lot of coffee. The preparations for tomorrows Award Ceremony are in full swing and we are full of anticipation.
Today we will have our great Diversity Talks again, which you shouldn´t miss! Today at 11am we will have a talk with filmmakers Neil Triffet and Lia Hietala about the subject “Queer for the Kids”, whose movies “EMO The Musical” and “Mon Homosytser” are on this years queer list. At 2pm we´re going to have a discussion about “Queer Historiography” with filmmakers Andrea Weiss (“Bones of Contention”) and Jochen Hick (“Mein wunderbares West-Berlin”).
The 7th day of Berlinale and we really have to rest a little bit. It´s kind of exhausting in a way. But also really beautiful!
You want to have a brief film tip? How about a chinese newcomer? The “rising star” of the chinese film scene shot a movie and it´s called: “The Taste of Betel Nut”. A polyamorous sexual adventure with unexpected turns: a story about a generation which has to find a balance between conservative traditions and modern needs. Ambitious, honest and relentless. Ladies and gentleman: please enter the CineStar 3 at 22:45.
Halftime, my friends! The first half of the festival is over, now hurry! You didn´t watch enough movies? Go for it, because there are only 5 days left!
“We´re all weirdos, that´s what makes us beautiful” is a quote from the film “Weirdos” from Bruce McDonald which you can watch over the next three days at the Berlinale. ´Cause Bruce McDonald himself is a weirdo of the best sort. Weirdos are something beautiful, this is what we found out at the Interview yesterday and which you can be convinced yourself by his new film. McDonald started his career with 8mm Zombies films, that he shot during high school. Over the years he made himself a name in the independent film scene far beyond the borders of Canada. His films are often about people on a road trip, where self-discovery and Rock´n Roll are the ingredients his films are made of. And of course, there are people who are weird sometimes but always lovable. Like in “Weirdos”: two 15-year old teenagers run away to hitchhike through the countryside. Kit wants to go to his mother and live with her, because he is hoping for a better life. Why everything turns out completely different and which role Andy Warhol plays in that film you have to find out yourself! It´s worth it! Have fun!
What is the stand of research on the continuities of paragraph 175 after National Socialism?
The dire situation and struggles of men desiring other men during the 1950s and 1960s has only recently attracted attention. They had long been forgotten, in many ways, because of the bad press, given to the”Homophiles” of the postwar decades among the spokespeople of the gay movement. The legal development in the East and the West between 1945 and 1969 has now been at least broadly documented; the same thing can be said about the structures behind police persecution and the non-recognition of homosexual concentration camp prisoners as victims of the National Socialist regime. The political efforts of the “homophiles” for recognition and decriminalization, and above all, the stories of everyday men who loved other men remain undocumented and under researched though: How did they deal with persecution and discrimination? In spite of it all, how did they manage to establish subcultural structures? How did homophile life and same-sex desire blossom between fears and hopes, platonic marriages (Josephsehen), train station bathrooms, prison cells, and theatre lodges?
What are your thoughts on the project by Minister Maas and the discussions on rehabilitation for victims of paragraph 175?
It is wonderful that the general criminalization of same-sex desire and the Nazi enhanced version of § 175 -enabling the intensification of homosexuals’ persecution in the Third Reich and in the early Federal Republic- are finally officially branded as a fundamental violation of human rights. The contribution of Christine Lüders, head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, to decisively advancing this debate really deserves appreciation. This gives the Rechsstaat (Rule of Law) an opportunity to develop a critical perspective on its own history, and to distance itself from the injustice that has been committed. Furthermore, the men who have been condemned can hope for reparation – albeit amply late. However, Paragraph 175 was the source of great harm beyond prison sentences. Relationships were broken, people were denounced, violent attacks were not uncommon, and some victims saw suicide as the only way out. How are the legislators going to compensate for this amount of suffering for which they ultimately bear responsibility?
Do you think this project reflects the discussion on paragraph 175 in the German public space?
I think, and maybe it is more of a hope, that the overwhelming majority of the German public would consider the criminalization of same-sex desire as morally unjustifiable today. To this extent, the political debate on rehabilitation is a result of a switch in opinion that has taken place over the past thirty years. It sometimes surprises me how few people know that the decriminalization of homosexualities is actually an achievement of the late GDR where unequal criminal treatment of same-sex desiring people ended in 1988. The Bundestag did only agree to finally abolish Paragraph 175 in 1994 when the West and East German penal Law were merged. Truly, not a glorious chapter in the history of the Federal Republic.
As you all know, there is never enough place for fantastic women on this planet! I mean, there is plenty, but unfortunately, these women are not always met with the best circumstances!
That is also the case in the new feature film by director Sebastián Lelio, whose film “Gloria” was screening at the Berlinale in 2013 and which won a Silver Bear for the performance of the wonderful actress Paulina García.
The film “Una mujer fantastica” is about a trans*gender woman Marina, who doesn´t want to do anything else but mourn, after her boyfriend suddenly dies. But the family of the dead man and the society doesn’t let her do that. It is an outstanding film about the fight of a trans*gender woman for her right to mourn, but also a film about a woman who just lost her man, and tries to get her feets back on the ground. Just a fantastic and a strong woman! But see for yourself!