GERMAN CINEMA NOW! – My Wonderful West Berlin (Mein wunderbares West-Berlin)
Jun. 24 from 5–11pm PDT
** This film is only available to viewers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. **
BLACK LIVES MATTER. In recognition of the importance of the current moment, NWFF is donating ALL PROCEEDS from our June film screenings to organizations that empower the Black community. This particular screening benefits Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network. Learn more about this initiative here or donate directly to NWFF.
Northwest Film Forum is SCREENING ONLINE! NWFF’s physical space is temporarily closed in light of public health concerns around COVID-19, but community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist.
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The monthly Goethe Pop Up Film Series GERMAN CINEMA NOW!, curated by Jasmin Krakenberg, supports artistic works that amplify a plurality of voices and experiences to inspire public dialogue.
About the film:
Today’s hip image of Berlin is based on the city’s vibrant and subversive subcultures, which originally emerged within the grey walls surrounding West Berlin. The queer scene played a major role in creating that subculture, with its sexual diversity and its wild and unconstrained party culture, ranging from notorious clubs to CSD. Many of the scene’s actors, such as the Gay Museum, the Teddy Award, AIDS help organizations, and the queer magazine Siegessäule originated before 1989.
Yet gays in West Berlin suffered greatly under an incongruous provision in German law – the infamous “Paragraph 175” – that made homosexual acts between men a crime up until its reform in 1969. Raids and arrests in bars were common, yet ultimately failed in suppressing gay life in West Berlin. Instead, the city turned into a gay capital. The late seventies in particular were a period of great sexual and political freedoms and more intense social intermingling between the gay-, hetero-, and transsexual worlds. Then AIDS struck, wrecking greater havoc in Berlin than in any other German city.
After Out in East Berlin (2013), My Wonderful West Berlin describes gay life in the western half of the city in the dynamic period between the end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall, all the while referencing current social issues. The stories and experiences of political activists, party-goers, hedonists, club owners, musicians, fashion designers, a DJ, and a make-up artist paint a vivid picture of the gay scene in that period. The use of never before seen archival film footage completes the picture by allowing viewers to travel through time to a hitherto unknown West Berlin.
My Wonderful West Berlin explores the historic roots of the fascinating city, that is a dream destination and a place of refuge for gay men form across the world to this day. The film is the second part of filmmaker Jochen Hick’s Berlin trilogy, the final part of which will focus on the period after the fall of the Wall, up until today.
Images and film description courtesy of GALERIA ALASKA PRODUCTIONS / Jochen Hick.