2016/17 | 98 min.
My Wonderful West Berlin
By Wieland Speck
My Wonderful West Berlin
Director: Jochen Hick | Germany, 2016/17 | 98 minutes | Color, black & white
Laguages: German with German, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew subtitles
World distributor: Galeria Alaska Productions
Availabe at: Goethe-Institut (Film Catalogue)
Jochen Hick, who in 1989 directed the first German feature film on AIDS, Via Appia, is something of a chronicler of the gay movement in Germany and Eastern Europe. With Andreas Strohfeldt, he co-directed the essential documentary “Out in East Berlin” on the situation of gays and lesbians in the workers’ and peasants’ state, where homosexuality was decriminalized in 1968, much earlier than in the Federal Republic, though this by no means led to equal rights. In 1973, three days after the broadcast of Rosa von Praunheim’s It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives on forbidden West German television, the HIB (Homosexuelle Interessengemeinschaft Berlin) was founded in East Berlin. Thirteen contemporary witnesses narrate private and political developments from church to state security that eventually led to opposition to the regime.
“Dream Boat” by Tristan Ferland Milewski deals with virtual reality, though not in the sense of a bespectacled 3D panorama. It’s about the creation of a majority society for a minority group by limiting space. On a cruise ship for gays, the shelter is finally perfect and the alarm sensor, which otherwise warns against ostracism and assault in everyday life, can be switched off. No look – wherever it may fall – will be “misunderstood” and entail danger. This is, of course, terrible mass tourism. But in this women-less world, while cruising life rages in the hallways, inside the cabins it’s all about the problems with the world out on the mainland. A deep insight ...
Everybody knows drag queens but only few of us are familiar with their lives 24/7. In “Surviving in Neukölln,” Rosa von Praunheim in his uniquely intimate way of exposing the private as the political introduces a group of unadjusted residents of the queer part of the Berlin district of Neukölln. The main focus is on gallery owner Juwelia. The film contains a cornucopia of lifestyles and shows why life outside urban spaces may in fact be possible – but why? (All four recommended titles under this heading are documentaries.)
With his film recommendations (in UPPERCASE) Wieland Speck traces central themes of social development in Germany. The recommendations are accompanied by additional proposals (in "quotes").