Queer at DFF – Recommendations February 2024

Here, you’ll find our queer offerings freshly compiled every month for a quick overview. In February, among several other program points, the annual Africa Alive Festival, celebrating its 30th edition, not only provides an exciting glimpse into African filmmaking in general, but this year focuses particularly on queer life in various African countries.

And as always, besides films and events explicitly addressing non-heteronormative themes, we also highlight content that may have a queer subtext or might be interesting to parts of the LGBT*IQA community for other reasons.

Films and Events at the DFF Cinema

Friday, 2.2. | 6:00 pm
Africa Alive Film Fest
Guest: Alain Kassanda

France/Nigeria 2023. dir: Alain Kassanda. Documentary. 87 min. DCP. With English subtitles.

Every Thursday at the University of Ibadan – the oldest university in Nigeria – there is a self-organized film club, a place of critical spirit and free discussion, a safe space where the young people involved discuss selected films: on political and cultural issues such as feminism, ethnicity, colonialism, LGBTIQ* and other relevant topics. The youth, who are reviled by their elders as the “coconut-head generation” for being lazy, stupid and useless, prove the opposite. In his film, which won the top prize at the Paris Documentary Film Festival Cinéma du Réel, Alain Kassanda portrays a vibrant and hopeful generation that critically questions the prevailing status quo, fights back against police violence and stands together for a better and freer future. Watch the trailer

Monday, 5.2. | 8:15 pm
Africa Alive Film Fest
Guest: Appolain Siewe

DE/Cameroon 2023. D: Appolain Siewe. Documentary. 82 min. DCP. Original version with German subtitles.

In Cameroon, homosexuality is still a criminal offense and a major social taboo. After hearing about the murder of LGBTIQ* activist and fellow Cameroonian Eric Lebemes in the media, Berlin-based director Appolain Siewe decides to travel to his home country with a camera. In conversations with various actors of the LGBTIQ* scene, Siewe tries to understand the homophobia of his country and his own upbringing. On his journey, he learns more about the local social reality and is confronted with his broken relationship with his father, which poses serious personal challenges. From February 1 to 27, the 30th edition of the Africa Alive Festival presents a diverse program of films from the African continent with feature films, documentaries and short films at the DFF cinema and the Filmforum Höchst. Watch the trailer

Friday, 9.2. | 8:30 pm
Africa Alive Film Fest
Further screening: Tue, 6.2., 6:30 pm at Filmforum Höchst

Nigeria 2023. D: Babatunde Apalowo. Cast: Tope Tedela, Riyo David, Martha Ehinome. 93 min. DCP. Original version with German subtitles

Winner of the Berlinale’s queer film prize (the Teddy Award), and numerous other festival prizes, this film tells the story of Bambino, who has settled into his modest single life in the megacity of Lagos. Unimpressed by the advances of his neighbor, he meets the charismatic photographer Bawa, with whom he quickly forms a deep friendship. The two travel through the city for a photography competition and fall in love. The Berlinale wrote about the movie: “Using an unobtrusive colour composition, Apalowo tells a restrained and tender story of two men who become close in a society in which same-sex sexual relations are considered taboo and are liable for prosecution. Their dance around each other unfolds slowly, in images that are concentrated and filled with calm. A sensual and politically important film from Nigeria about finding love where you least expect it.” Watch the trailer

Tuesday, 13.2. | 6:00 pm
Event “Remake on Location
Guests: Elfi Mikesch, Julia Wallmüller (Filmrestauratorin, Deutsche Kinemathek), Heide Schlüpmann (film scholar)

Since the 1970s, Elfi Mikesch has been one of the most important pioneers of feminist counterculture as a photographer, cinematographer and director, and is considered a formative figure of subversive cinema in Germany. She has worked with Rosa von Praunheim, Werner Schroeter and Monika Treut on many occasions and is a close friend of theirs. Following the Remake Film Festival, the DFF and Kinothek Asta Nielsen present two mid-length films in the presence of the director. Frankfurt Women’s Film Days: EXECUTION – A STUDY OF MARY and DAS FRÜHSTÜCK DER HYÄNE. The former is a photographic film made up of individual images, “the drama of a woman who attempted a kind of liberal emancipation in a time of upheaval, but got caught in men’s snares. A study of Mary Stuart”. (E.M.). The latter is based on the literary work New Portuguese Letters by Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta and Maria Velho da Costa and “plays with the violent fantasies of a young woman who liberates herself from her past through self-dramatization.” (E. M.)

Thrusday, 15.2. | 8:00 pm
Film series Cinema & Couch

USA 1957. D: Billy Wilder. Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton. 116 Min. 35mm. Original version with German subtitles.

A classic, nominated for six Oscars at the time, with legendary queer icon Marlene Dietrich in top form, not to be missed! A famous lawyer (Charles Laughton) defends a man (Tyrone Power) accused of murder. His only alibi is the testimony of his wife (Marlene Dietrich), who turns her back on him during the trial. Alfred Hitchcock once said: “People have often told me how much they enjoyed WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION. They thought it was my movie, not Billy Wilder’s.” Wilder, who had emigrated from Germany to Hollywood, once again proved his mastery as a director with this courtroom drama based on a play by Agatha Christie, interspersing high tension with sometimes subtle, sometimes bizarre humor. Watch the trailer

Wednesday, 14.2. | 6:00 pm
Part of the short film program “Africa Alive

Germany 2023. D: Gabriel Bihina Arrahnio, Short film, 23 min.

Sam and his mother Rita are from Ghana and have found a new home in the suburbs of Berlin. When Rita’s friend Gifty and her son Kwesi, who also want to live in Germany, visit, Sam develops feelings for Kwesi that make him question his life. But uncertainty about Gifty and Kwesi’s residency status casts a shadow over any potential happiness. Awarded the label “particularly valuable” by the Film Rating Board, it states: “Despite an existential conflict and a highly topical subject, the film’s narrative tone feels remarkably light, thanks in large part to the riveting performances of its young leads, Noah Tinwa and Ben Mood. The exchange of their shy glances, the casual touches, the growing desire – the staging of this queer and beautiful love story touches with a subtle tenderness that makes the film stand out as something truly special”.

Wednesday, 14.2. | 8:15 PM
Valentine’s Day

FRG 1988. D: Mietek Lewandowski. Cast: Jens Harzer, Stefanie Hermannsdörfer, Sebastian Koch. 4 x 30 Min. 16mm

“Butterflies in the stomach, pimples on the face – and in the heart an urge for freedom in the everyday stench of the Bonn Republic. At times, the series almost subversively oversteps its pedagogically valuable boundaries. The fact that Iffland Ring winner Jens Harzer and Bambi winner Sebastian Koch have earned their spurs here is the icing on the cake. A rediscovery!” (Florian Widegger, Filmarchiv Austria). On Valentine’s Day, we are showing the first four of the eight episodes of the youth series DER LIEBE AUF DER SPUR, which was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Youth, Family, Women and Health and used for school screenings at the time. An entertaining time travel to the 1980s in terms of music, clothing, hairstyles and language. In HINGEFLOGEN – HERZ VERBOGEN, Sven wonders if he might be gay after an experience with Martin on a camping trip. In WAS MEIN HERZ BEGEHRT, Rainer and Edgar openly confess their love.

Tuesday, 27.2. | 8:30 pm and Thursday, 29.2. | 6:00 pm
Film Series “Cinema Highlights 2023

FR/DE 2023. D: Ira Sachs. Cast: Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, Adèle Exarchopoulos. 91 min. DCP. Original language with German subtitles.

Filmmaker Tomas and graphic designer Martin live in Paris, where they have been in a happy relationship for 15 years. At the wrap party for Tomas’ new movie, he meets Agathe, a primary school teacher who has just broken up with her boyfriend. This encounter quickly turns the lives of Agathe, Tomas and Martin upside down. This multi-layered drama explores concepts of relationships beyond monogamy and heteronormativity, dealing with issues such as jealousy, narcissism and expectations in love. The main characters in this love triangle story, which was also screened at this year’s Berlinale, deliver phenomenal performances. Watch the trailer

Permanently Online

Conversation (in German)
Film scholars Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpmann about MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM
In conjunction with WEIMAR WEIBLICH

This classic of early German sound film, and revered as a lesbian cult film, features an all-female cast and two women in key roles behind the camera: Christa Winsloe wrote the screenplay and Leontine Sagan directed. After the screening, film scholars Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpmann talked about the history of the film’s reception, its personal significance for them, and about a wonderful interview they conducted with lead actress Hertha Thiele in the early 1980s. More…

Podcast (in German)
Das Homosexuellen-Melodram ANDERS ALS DIE ANDERN
In conjunction with WEIMAR WEIBLICH

Richard Oswald’s “ANDERS ALS DIE ANDERN” (GER 1919) was the first film to address homosexuality and Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexuality. Film scholar Wolfgang Theis talks about the educational film, starring Conrad Veidt, which was not only a box office hit but also faced homophobic attacks. More…

Podcast (in German)
Queere Mutterschaft
In conjunction with WEIMAR WEIBLICH

In the podcast conversation with the Berlin artist Annette Hollywood, one of the topics is why lesbian mothers are rarely mentioned in history, and when they are, it’s often in criminal contexts. Additionally, Annette Hollywood introduces her video project, “anderkawer,” which explores the traces of queer motherhood. A video from this project is also on display in the foyer of the WEIMAR WEIBLICH exhibition. More…

Lecture (in English)
International Kubrick Symposium 2018

2001 kubrick

Will the future be gender-fluid, characterized by an unspecified and changing gender? In this 2018 lecture, cultural historian Dominic Janes emphasized that Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” can also be interpreted as a queer odyssey. More…

RHIZOM Filmgeschichte

The platform RHIZOM FILMGESCHICHTE explores the beginnings of films. In the thematic path “QUEER CINEMA – Counter-Narratives and Cinematic Experiments,” Karin Michalski writes about an explicitly political phenomenon that does not adhere to well-defined identities but rather subverts, confuses, and expands normative societal concepts of identity. More…

Online-Talk (in German)
Influential Films and Cinema

On the occasion of the Queer Action Days 2022, Olaf Wehowski (LUCAS – International Festival for Young Film Lovers, DFF) spoke with Ioannis Karathanasis (Association of Binational Families and Partnerships) and Josefine Liebig (Alliance for Acceptance and Diversity Frankfurt) about films on the topic of coming out within the family. More…