A new movie has been described as ‘soulful’ and ‘stirring’ by critics in its portrayal of gay love during World War II.
What’s it about?:
In Germany after WWII, the liberation by the Allies did not mean freedom for everyone. Hans (Franz Rogowski) has been found guilty of something the government deems a crime: he is gay. Under the 19th-century German penal code known as Paragraph 175, homosexuality is grounds for imprisonment, and Hans–over the course of multiple decades–is spied on and repeatedly jailed solely for his sexuality. As he returns to prison, again and again, Hans develops an ever-closer relationship with his cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. As their charged rapport blossoms over time into something far more tender, GREAT FREEDOM explores love, lost time, and the tenacity of the human spirit.
Austrian writer-director Sebastian Meise’s award-winning debut film Still Life was selected for the San Sebastian Film Festival, and his documentary Outing was presented at Hot Docs in Toronto. He co-founded the Vienna-based production company FreibeuterFilm. GREAT FREEDOM is his second feature film.
One of the leading actors of his generation, Franz Rogowski first trained as a dancer, street performer and theater actor, and was immediately noticed for his intensely physical performances in Sebastien Schipper’s Victoria and Michael Haneke’s Happy End. Rogowski soon followed with starring roles in Christian Petzold’s Transit and Undine, as well as Thomas Stuber’s award-winning film In the Aisles. He also appeared in Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life and is currently filming Ira Sachs’ new film Passages.
GREAT FREEDOM is Austria’s selection for the Academy Award® for Best International Film, and winner of the 2021 Cannes International Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize.
The critics rave:
“Tender, but unsentimental…Built around a moving characterization of defiant resilience conveyed with great restraint by Franz Rogowski…the smoldering center of the drama.”– David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Franz Rogowski gives yet another career-topping performance as a gay man living out his life in prison in post-World War II Germany…. one of the most striking actors working in European cinema and beyond.” – Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire
GREAT FREEDOM will open theatrically in New York on March 4, 2022 at Film Forum followed by Los Angeles and a national expansion.