Queer at DFF – Recommendations June 2024

For Pride Month in June, the DFF is featuring current queer German film productions and two cult classics by renowned gay director John Waters. Additionally, the DFF will offer insights into the eventful Berlin years of the American writer and activist Audre Lorde, who described herself as a “Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet, warrior” and was a central figure in the fight against racism and homophobia. Also in our online section below, be sure to go on “A queer tour” on Europeana to learn more about 21 cultural objects looked at through a queer lens.

At DFF Cinema

Tuesday, June 11 | 8:30 pm
Film Series Cult Movies

USA 1981. Director: John Waters. Cast: Divine, Tab Hunter, Mary Vivian Pearce. 86 min. 35mm. Original version.

The idyllic facade of suburban life for the Fishpaw family begins to crumble when mother Francine (played by John Waters’ muse, the drag queen Divine) discovers her husband Elmer’s affair. Amid erotic fetishes, alcoholism, depression, and drug addiction, it takes some absurd coincidences and murders to at least superficially restore their seemingly perfect world. Inspired by the classic melodramas of Douglas Sirk, John Waters’ quirky satire targets bourgeois values, housewife dreams, and the dark sides of the American Dream myth. Watch the trailer

Sunday, June 16 | 8:30 pm
Friday, June 21 | 8:30 pm
Film Series Cult Movies

USA 1988. Director: John Waters. Cast: Ricki Lake, Debbie Harry, Divine. 92 min. 35mm. Original version with German subtitles.

For the overweight teenager Tracy, it is a big dream to appear on a popular TV dance show, but she quickly finds herself caught in toxic rivalries. Gay cult director John Waters, also known as the “Pope of Trash,” addresses the aspirations, small-town puritanism, and pervasive racism of the 1950s in a wonderfully flamboyant and colorful retro musical. This fan favorite uses humor and creativity to champion tolerance and diversity. Watch the trailer

Wednesday, June 12. | 8:30 p.m.
Monster Mansion presents: IT STARES BACK

USA 1990. Dir: Clive Barker. Cast: Craig Sheffer, David Cronenberg, Anne Bobby. 121 min (Director’s Cut). Blu-ray. Original with subtitles

As part of the supporting program, the queer-feminist theatrical haunted house experience Monster Mansion presents a classic of queer horror cinema at the DFF: Nightmares repeatedly lead Boone (Craig Sheffer) to the city of the dead, Midian. When his psychiatrist (David Cronenberg) suspects him of murder and sets the police on him, the fugitive sets out in search of the “creatures of the night.” Danny Elfman composed the music for Clive Barker’s horror thriller, which raises the question of who the real monsters are. For more information: monstermansion.de

Wednesday, June 26. | 8:15 p.m.
With reading and conversation
Moderation: Annette Kühn

Germany 2012. Director: Dagmar Schultz. Documentary. 79 min. DCP

The African-American, lesbian poet and activist Audre Lorde (1934–1992) fought against homophobia and racism, coined the term “Afro-German,” and encouraged Black women to make their own history visible. The documentary, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale in 2012 and has since been shown with great success at over 76 film festivals worldwide, portrays her time in West Berlin (1984-92). Watch the trailer

Sunday, June 23 | 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25 | 8:30 p.m.
Film Series New Voices. German Cinema Since 2000

Germany 2020. Director: Faraz Shariat. Cast: Benjamin Radjaipour, Eidin Jalali, Banafshe Hourmazdi. 92 min. DCP

Parvis, the son of Iranian parents, is sentenced to community service in a refugee shelter after being caught shoplifting and falls in love with Amon, who has fled Iran with his sister Banafshe. The three of them experience a summer of tumultuous nights, marked by the realization that, in different ways, they do not feel at home in Germany. Director Faraz Shariat describes his autofictional feature debut “No Hard Feelings” as “self-determined, activist popcorn cinema.” The film not only creates space for the diverse life realities and identities of its characters but also breaks with the still prevalent stereotypical portrayals of (post-)migrant or queer stories. “No Hard Feelings” has received multiple awards for its groundbreaking storytelling, including the Queer Teddy Award at the Berlinale. Watch the trailer

Friday, June 28 | 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 30 | 8:30 p.m.
Film Series New Voices. German Cinema Since 2000

Germany 2023. Director: Christoph Hochhäusler. Cast: Timocin Ziegler, Thea Ehre, Michael Sideris. 120 min. DCP

As an undercover investigator, Robert is supposed to gain the trust of a criminal through a fake relationship with Leni. The contact is made at a dance class: Robert and Leni—he gay, she trans*—have Victor on the hook. But in the supposedly pretended love, are there actually far more feelings involved in the end? This mix of gangster film and melodramatic urban crime story captivates with intricate deceptions, performances by Timocin Ziegler and trans actress Thea Ehre, and a nostalgic soundtrack. Watch the trailer


Online Exhibition (in English)
21 cultural objects seen through a queer lens
Created as part of the DE-BIAS project

How can we use art to talk about history? Art and cultural objects from European archives can be used to reflect on historical events and break up traditional narratives. Hidden personalities and narratives that have been forgotten or neglected by history emerge from new perspectives. The online exhibition, curated by Dani Martiri of Queering Rome, was created as part of the DEBIAS project and can be viewed on Europeana. More…

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)
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…

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…

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 (in German)

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…