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The Circle

6.7
87
Ratings
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Original title
Der Kreis (The Circle)
Year
Running time
102 min.
Country
Switzerland Switzerland
Director
Screenwriter
Stefan Haupt, Christian Felix, Urs Frey, Ivan Madeo
Music
Federico Bettini
Cinematography
Tobias Dengler, Ernst Immer, Patrick Lindenmaier
Cast
, , , , ,
Producer
Contrast Film / Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF)
Genre
Documentary | Gay & Lesbian
Synopsis / Plot
Founded in the early 1940s, the network around the magazine ‘Der Kreis’ (’The Circle’) was the only gay organisation to survive the Nazi regime. It blossomed during the post-war years into an internationally renowned underground club. Legendary masked balls at the Theater am Neumarkt in Zurich provided 800 visitors from all over Europe with a secret and safe space to act out their ‘otherness’ in a self-determined way. It is there that timid teacher Ernst Ostertag falls in love with drag star Röbi Rapp. Ernst searches for a way to fight for his gayness to be accepted as normal outside the boundaries of ‘The Circle’ network without losing his employment as a teacher. Röbi champions the joint fruition of their love. Following a murder in the gay community, violent repression against gay people also endangers ‘The Circle’ network.

Zürich in the mid 50‘s: The young shy teacher Ernst Ostertag becomes a member of the gay organisation "Der Kreis". There he gets to know the transvestite star Röbi Rapp – and immediately falls head over heels in love with him. Röbi and Ernst live through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation. Ernst finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality, for Röbi it is about his first serious love relationship. A relationship which will last a lifetime.

The film looks back from the present to the time when the „Mother“ of all European homosexual organizations had its high point to the time it slowly fell apart. While the repression against homosexuals became increasingly more intense in Zürich, two young and very different men fight for their love and – together with their friends – for the rights of gays.
Awards
2014: Berlin Film Festival: Audience Award - Best Documentary (Panorama)
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