I am very grateful to somebody in Information Services at the University of Birmingham. Whoever they are, they have an excellent acquisitions policy when it comes to historic gay German cinema. That’s pretty niche, as far as I’m concerned. I’m just fortunate that it happens to be MY niche.
The first film that caught my attention was Sex in Chains (Geschlecht in Fesseln – Die Sexualnot der Gefangenen, 1929, Dir. William Dieterle)
Then there was Westler (1985, Dir. Wieland Speck)
Sex in Chains appealed to me because it is a silent film and one of the earliest to tackle the theme of same-sex love, although it has to pretend to be a study of prison inmates to justify its – still very tame – contents.
Westler is an altogether more tender love story; Romeo and Juliet-like, a West German falls in love with an East Berliner and pursues the relationship on his free Monday afternoons, always rushing to catch the last train back to the West at night. Very sweet!
PS. In addition to the University Library’s acquisitions team, I am of course also grateful to the directors themselves…