Queer at DFF – Recommendations March 2024

Every month, DFF puts together a rundown of its queer offerings for a quick overview. In March, we’re jetting off to Hollywood for the Oscars and heading to the Global South with Southern Lights on Tour.

Aside from films and events explicitly tackling non-heteronormative themes, our overview also spotlights content with a subtle queer vibe or that might pique the interest of segments of the LGBTQIA+ community. Be sure to check back often as we may add more exciting programming highlights on the fly throughout the month.

Films and Events at the DFF Cinema

Friday, March 8 | 8:30 p.m.
Film Series Oscar© Weekend
11 Oscar-Nominations

USA/GB/IRL 2023. D: Yorgos Lanthimos. Cast: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo. 141 Min. DCP. Original version with German subtitles

Yorgos Lanthimos, known for causing a stir with films like “THE FAVOURITE,” which boldly portrayed queer female sexuality (earning Olivia Colman an Oscar), now directs “POOR THINGS,” a delightful, spine-chilling feminist retelling of the Frankenstein myth. The disfigured scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter discovers the body of the pregnant Victoria Blessington in the Thames. To save her, he implants the brain of the unborn child and revives her. As a child in a woman’s body, “Bella” embarks on an adventurous, far-from-chaste European journey with lawyer Duncan, where she also meets Toinette. How Lanthimos develops the relationship and emotional bond between Toinette and Bella, in contrast to Bella’s random sexual encounters with men, is a poignant commentary on desire, sexual freedom and respect. Although the storyline is interrupted and not fully resolved, the queer characters here are more than mere side notes.  Watch the trailer

Saturday, March 9 | 6:00 p.m.
Film Series Oscar© Weekend
6 Oscar Nominations

USA/GB 2023. D: Greta Gerwig. Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera. 114 Min. DCP. Original version with German subtitles

There’s probably nothing left to say about BARBIE that hasn’t already been said, and the fact that Greta Gerwig’s hot-pink journey of the iconic doll Barbie and her boyfriend Ken to real-life California broke all sorts of box office records worldwide on its opening weekend was hard to miss. The DFF brings this subversive, feminist comedy, brimming with queer references despite its heteronormativity (Barbie – Ken, Ken – Barbie), back for another run on the big screen. The openly queer stars like Kate McKinnon, Hari Nef, Scott Evans and Alexandra Shipp, the gender-nonconforming Allen, the “Wizard of Oz” references, musical interludes such as the Indigo Girls’ anthem “Closer to Fine” and Sam Smith’s “Man I Am” are just a few of the things that make queer hearts beat faster. The fact that conservatives in the USA burned Barbie dolls and accused the movie of promoting the “trans* agenda” is just one more reason to (re)watch and celebrate this comedy! Watch the trailer

Sunday, March 10 | 5:30 p.m.
ANATOMIE D’UNE CHUTE / Anatomy of a Fall
Film Series Oscar© Weekend
5 Oscar Nominations

FR 2023. D: Justine Triet. Cast: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner. 151 Min. DCP. English and partly French original version with german subtitles

Sandra Hüller delivers a standout performance as a bisexual writer thrust into a legal drama after her husband’s mysterious death in a fall. While the main character’s sexual orientation takes a backseat, it’s this nuanced portrayal that gives Justine Triet’s meticulously crafted film its refreshing authenticity. With both Triet and Hüller garnering accolades, including the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes, have chances for an Oscar® in the Best Director and Best Actress categories. In addition, the drama has earned nominations in the “Best Picture” category, underscoring its overall excellence. Watch the trailer

Sunday, March 10 | 8:30 p.m.
Film Series Oscar© Weekend
7 Oscar Nominations

USA 2023. D: Bradley Cooper. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer. 129 Min. DCP. Original evrsion with German subtitles

In “MAESTRO,” Bradley Cooper, as both director and star, delves into the intricate life of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), the groundbreaking American conductor, composer and pianist. The film explores Bernstein’s complex relationship with his wife, Felicia Montealegre, which was strained by his homosexuality or bisexuality and his numerous affairs with men. With meticulous attention to detail, compelling music and outstanding performances, the film has won over audiences and critics alike. However, it hasn’t been without its critics from the queer community, some of whom argue that Bernstein’s gay identity has been somewhat sidelined in favor of his marriage to Montealegre. Watch the trailer

Thursday, March 13 | 8:00 p.m.
Film Series Cinema & Couch
With a film analysis by Christiane von Wahlert and psychoanalytic insights by Klaus Kocher.

USA 1999. D: Anthony Minghella. Cast: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman. 139 Min. 35mm. Original evrsion with German subtitles

Der smarte, aber mittellose Tom Ripley erhält den Auftrag, den in Italien lebenden Millionärssohn Dickie Greenleaf zurück nach Amerika zu bringen. Doch Dickie ist so sehr in sein Leben mit seiner Verlobten Marge vertieft, dass er keinen Gedanken an eine Rückkehr verschwendet. Fasziniert von ihrem Lebensstil und dem Luxus, den sie genießen, hegt der schwule Tom den Wunsch, selbst Teil der High Society zu sein und schmiedet er einen teuflischen Plan. Basierend auf dem gleichnamigen Roman der lesbischen Schriftstellerin Patricia Highsmith akzentuiert Minghellas Verfilmung die schwulen Motive und die latent homoerotische Beziehung zwischen Tom und Dickie stärker als das 1955 erschienene Buch. Und bei der hochkarätigen Besetzung sind die stimmungsvollen italienischen Landschaften nicht die einzige Augenweide in diesem spannenden Thriller. Zum Trailer

Monday, March 18 | 8:15 p.m.
Film Series Southern Lights on Tour

Cuba 2022. D: Gretel Marin Palacio. 28. Min. DCP. With English subtitles
The queer feminist activist Afibola tries to prepare her eight-year-old son Olorun for life in a society shaped by capitalism and machismo in Havana.

Nigeria 2020. D: Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim. 38 Min. DCP. Engl. English language
Ifé and Adaora, two young Nigerian women, meet on a date and fall in love. The first Nigerian film ever about a lesbian relationship, produced by Nigerian LGBTQIA+ activist Pamela Adie.

Nigeria 2018. D: Pamela Adie. 55 Min. DCP. English language
Documentary about LGBTQIA+ activist Pamela Adie. As the first Nigerian woman to create a documentary about her lesbian coming out, her gopal is to inspire other queer people in Nigeria. As the director of The Equality Hub, a Nigerian non-profit organization, Adie advocates for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Tuesday, March 19 | 3:00 p.m.
Film Series Southern Lights on Tour

France/Marocco/Belgium 2022. D: Maryam Touzani. Cast: Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Ayoub Missioui. 118 Min. DCP. French with German subtitles.

Halim and Mina have been married for a long time and run a caftan business together. Their marriage is loving and harmonious, even though they both know that Halim is gay. In Morocco, homosexuality is a crime, and both keep the secret. But then Mina falls ill, and the new apprentice awakens feelings in Halim. Maryam Touzani tells the story with delicate allusions. The titular blue caftan is sewn with great patience and sensitivity, symbolizing the love of traditional craftsmanship as well as the deep affection between the characters.

Tuesday, March 19 | 5:30 p.m.
Film Series Southern Lights on Tour
Post screening conversation with Tom Colognese and Vanna Hem (via Zoom)

Cambodia 2023. D: Tommaso Colognese, Vanna Hem. Documentary film. 71 Min. DCP. Original language with German subtitles

The directors spent five years following the LOTUS SPORTS CLUB, a young women’s soccer team in Cambodia coached by Pa Vann, a transgender man. For the women, he is not only a coach but also a father figure, providing them with a home and helping them prepare for potential careers. This is particularly important for the queer members of the team, who have been ostracized by their families. In the face of aggressive hostility, the documentary shows how the passion for soccer and the strong bond within the team gives individuals courage and joy for life.

Starting Sunday, March 3
Film Series Sergej Paradžanov

Sergei Parajanov (Georgian: Sergo Paradžanovi, 1924-1990) is one of the most original and artistically independent filmmakers of the 20th century. Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Andrei Tarkovsky were inspired by his work. Born to Armenian parents in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, he began making films in the Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in 1954. After the international success of “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (1965), Parajanov increasingly clashed with the Soviet cultural bureaucracy, which obstructed and censored his films or outright banned their production. In 1974, he was sentenced to five years in a labor camp for various alleged offenses, primarily homosexuality. It was only the progressive liberalization of the 1980s that allowed him to resume filmmaking. Parajanov died of cancer in 1990. Today, the director is an important figure of identification for the queer community in Georgia. Pop star Lady Gaga also paid tribute to him in her music video “911”. Read more about Parajanov here.

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…