»LEARNING FROM HISTORY«
Filmfest Hamburg ANNOUNCES OPENING FILM
FILMFEST HAMBURG will launch its 29th edition with Great Freedom on 30 September 2021. Sebastian Meise’s third feature film and Jury Prize winner of »Un Certain Regard« in Cannes focuses on the little-noticed topic of the criminalisation of homosexuals in post-war Germany.
»After Enfant Terrible as the opening film in 2020, we are continuing the tradition of ambitious, German-language films«, festival director Albert Wiederspiel is pleased to announce. »In Great Freedom, a little-known part of West German history is spotlighted that finally needs to be told. Especially today, when intolerance is on the rise, we must learn from history.«
After all, the liberation of Nazi Germany did not mean freedom for everyone. Director Sebastian Meise, who wrote the screenplay together with Thomas Reider, recalls that by means of the notorious §175, homosexual men were systematically persecuted and imprisoned in repressive post-war Germany until the late 1960s.
Hans (Franz Rogowski) is one of them. He ends up in prison again and again, where he meets his cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murderer. From initial revulsion, an intense friendship develops between the two over the course of decades.
Great Freedom celebrated its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won the jury prize in the »Un Certain Regard« section. With the acclaimed actors Franz Rogowski and Berlinale Silver Bear winner Georg Friedrich in the leading roles, this moving drama has a top-class cast. The director and the main actors are expected at the premiere in Hamburg.
A look at German history reveals the social poignancy of the subject: until 1992, homosexuality was still officially considered a mental illness in Germany, and §175 was not completely abolished until 1994. Worldwide, it is still punished in every third country.
Great Freedom is a German-Austrian co-production by Rohfilm Productions and FreibeuterFilm, whose co-founder is Sebastian Meise. The film was funded by Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI), Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM), the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), ORF Film/Television Agreement, Film Industry Support Austria (FISA), Vienna Film Fund (FFW), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) and ZDF. Piffl Medien will bring Great Freedom to German cinemas from 18 November 2021.
FILMFEST HAMBURG will take place from 30 September to 9 October 2021. Around 100 productions from all over the world will be shown as European, German or Hamburg premieres. Festival cinemas are the Abaton, CinemaxX Dammtor, Metropolis, Passage and the Studio-Kino.