Friday, June 27, 2014

Frameline: The Circle

Last weekend at Frameline I saw The Circle, a delightful Swiss docudrama about Der Kreis, a tastefully naughty gay magazine published in Zurich from WWII through the 1960s. The story is told through the lives of Röbi Rapp & Ernst Ostertag, a drag performer & a school teacher who meet in 1956 through their association with the magazine & its famous annual ball. The movie neatly combines slick dramatic recreations of the 1950s & 60s with interviews with Messrs. Rapp & Ostertag, now a cute couple in their 80s. There are nicely constructed moments when a scene cuts seamlessly between now & then. Both the real-life gentlemen & the actors portraying them are warm & engaging. I felt like I got a lot of information about the magazine & post-war Switzerland. Homosexuality was not illegal, but there was still plenty of social stigma & police persecution. The movie is a love story as well as a history lesson, & the audience applauded footage of Messrs. Rapp & Ostertag becoming the 1st same sex couple to marry in Switzerland. The film's dialogue is in cute-sounding Swiss German.

The Saturday afternoon screening at the Castro was so packed that I & my 2 movie companions had to find seats in the upper balcony. The director Stefan Haupt was in attendance & received a standing ovation. Unfortunately I did not have time to stay for his Q&A.

§ Der Kreis (The Circle)
Dir: Stefan Haupt, Switzerland, 2014, 102 mins.

San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival 2014
Saturday, June 21, 4:15 PM, Castro Theatre

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