As a part of the Goethe-Institut North America’s Queer as German Folk
series – in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising as a milestone in the fight for gender diversity and equality – the Goethe-Institut Washington and its many local project partners have selected a number of culturally- and historically-significant films from Germany and North America, highlighting various aspects of queer rights movements. We present Kino-Q
, a film series that guides viewers through parts of this history, paired with expert-led discussions.
Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern)
Weimar Republic (Germany), 1919, 50 min. (fragment), Director: Richard Oswald, Screenplay: Magnus Hirschfeld and Richard Oswald
An introduction to the film will be provided by Dr. Katrin Sieg, a Professor of German from Georgetown University who is jointly affiliated with the BMW Center for German and European Studies. A discussion will follow.
Paul Körner (Conrad Veidt), a successful violinist in Berlin, falls in love with fellow musician Kurt (Fritz Schulz). When the relationship between the two men is discovered by a blackmailer (Reinhold Schünzel), the ensuing scandal threatens their relationship, their reputations, their careers, and their lives. Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern)
— co-written by physician and early queer rights advocate Magnus Hirschfeld — is considered to be the first pro-LGBTQ+ film in the world.
Directed by Richard Oswald and starring a young Conrad Veidt, who went on to become one of the most prolific and legendary German actors in film history, the film specifically addresses gay rights law reform and the abolition of Paragraph 175 – a law left over from the Prussian German Empire that outlawed homosexual relationships between men. Portraying the devastating effect that the criminalization of homosexuality had on Germany’s queer population, Different from the Others
was one of the first films with a gay protagonist, explicitly addressing the harmfulness of punishing queerness and treating it as an abomination.
Director Richard Oswald
was born Richard W. Ornstein in Vienna and began his career as an actor on the stage. At 34, he made his film directorial debut with The Iron Cross (Das eiserne Kreuz)
(1914). Throughout the later 1910s, Oswald operated his own production company in Germany. Many of his films were literary adaptations of classic books, although Different from the Others
was a departure from his usual work that caused an unsurprising scandal at the time. A prolific filmmaker, Oswald directed almost 100 films. When the Nazis came to power, Oswald fled Germany for France and eventually the United States. Although he had a short career in Hollywood, Oswald returned to Germany after the Second World War. He died in Düsseldorf in 1963.
Discussion moderator Dr. Katrin Sieg
is Professor of German jointly affiliated with the BMW Center for German and European studies and the German Department at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research focses on German and European culture, postcolonial and critical race studies, and feminist studies. The author of three scholarly monographs on German and European theater, performance, and cinema, she has received several awards and grants, among them a Humboldt Fellowship, and two awards for her second book: Ethnic Drag: Performing Race, Nation, Sexuality in West Germany
(2002). Professor Sieg teaches the MAGES course on Theorizing Culture at Georgetown, and courses on GDR Cinema, colonial/postcolonial German culture, and popular culture and media studies. For several years, she served as Field Chair of the Culture and Politics Program.
Presented as a part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration with the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington.
Co-presented by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and GLOE-The Kurlander Program for GLBT Outreach & Engagement.