Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Der Kreis (Swiss German) [The Circle]

This was a very interestingly done documentary-drama that depicts the social scene that revolved around Der Kreis (The Circle), a gay publication in Zurich, in the 1940s and 1950s. The magazine was published from 1932 to 1967 and distributed internationally and was also used as a scapegoat for the murders of several gay men in the city. The docudrama primarily focusses on relationship of Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, which is told through documentary interviews with this sweet elderly couple and a conscientious dramatization of their courtship in the 1950s.

The Circle, is not a magazine but is also a gay community within itself. This is during the time when things in Zurich were a bit more lenient compared to anywhere else in the world. This is where Ernst and Robi meet. Ernst is a girls high school teacher while Robi is the main drag act performer for the club’s ball parties. We see how the two lovers meet and their story goes forward. Things are done in secrecy but it is still in control. Things change when a series of murders happen and suddenly the influential members high society are outed as gay who are killed by rent boys. This brings ‘The circle’ under scrutiny. Suddenly it is no longer okay to run the magazine and the cops take a very hard stand on the matters. One of their balls is raided and every member is asked to prepare a statement declaring their sexual identity. Things get hard for Ernst and Robi because Ernst wants to do something for the society , yet at the same time keep his job secure and be in closet. Rob on the other hand wants a normal loving monogamous life. But the two love each other too much and brave all odds. After 2 murder cases are solved, the third one takes a toll on the cops and the circle is shut permanently by the authorities. Zurich is suddenly now not as gay friendly as everyone thought it would be. The film later shows how the tow men later start a magazine and also then end up to become the first gay couple to legally get married in Switzerland.

This is a beautifully told true story of love amidst a backdrop of lies, secrecy and fundamentally fear. It shows the hope and intellect of gay men in the 40s. It is a truly engaging film, and one to watch if you’re interested in knowing about the history of our gay culture and how much we take for granted today. I think getting real life interviews of Ernst and Robi and their friends and family along with full dramatised portrayal of the events made it even more engaging. The film makes it very clear how much hurdles a same-sex couple that simply wanted to be together had to clear in the 1950s and how the pioneering ‘The Circle’, helped fill a void but how its relatively low profile became a problem when a series of rent-boy murders shook the city.

Great acting an direction makes this film/documentary very engaging at the same time providing us with some good context history about what it was like to be gay in Switzerland back then. (7/10)


Luigi C said...

I'm really thankful to the couple that ,first, signed the Civil Partnership here in Switzerland ! They fought even for my better half and me.

Golu said...

Wow!! So you have a personal connection. I can't even comprehend. Salute !!