Virtual Screening Room: Pioneers of Queer Cinema

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MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931)
MICHAEL (1924)
VICTOR AND VICTORIA (1933)

Watch Now $15
Includes all three films • Proceeds benefit The Brattle

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MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM

1931 • dir Leontine Sagan • 87 min • in German with English subtitles

This artfully composed milestone of lesbian cinema – and an important anti-fascist film – was the first of just three films directed by Leontine Sagan. At an all-girls boarding school, new student Manuela and compassionate teacher Fräulein von Bernburg have a passionate and illicit romance.

“Beautifully crafted and performed, evocatively lit, and sensitively directed. A landmark film in the evolution of Queer cinema.”
– Jason Wood, BBC

MICHAEL

1924 • dir Carl Theodor Dreyer • 93 min • German intertitles with English subtitles

Danish film master Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Michael is a mature and visually elegant period romance decades ahead of its time. Michael takes its place alongside Dreyer’s better known masterpieces as an unusually sensitive and decorous work of art and is one of the earliest and most compassionate overtly gay-themed films in movie history. Collaborating with famed German cinematographers Karl Freund (Metropolis, The Last Laugh) and Rudolph Maté (Passion of Joan of Arc, DOA) Michael offers the first fully realized example of Dreyer’s emotionally precise, visually extravagant style that would be perfected in his subsequent masterworks such as Joan of Arc and Ordet.

“Michael is perhaps Dreyer’s first masterpiece, assured, reticent, and radiant.”
– Tom Milne, The Films of Carl Dreyer

VICTOR AND VICTORIA

1933 • dir Reinhold Schünzel • 84 min • in German with English subtitles

In this dazzling musical romance, a young woman (Renate Müller), unable to find work as a music hall singer, partners with a down-and-out thespian (Hermann Thimig) to revamp her act. Pretending to be a man performing in drag, Victoria becomes the toast of the international stage. But she soon finds that her playful bending of genders enmeshes her personal and professional life in a tangle of unexpected complications. Produced in the final days of the Weimar Republic, Victor and Victoria received limited exposure in the United States, and is today best known by Blake Edwards’s 1982 remake and the 1995 Broadway production. Viewers will be delighted to discover that the original is every bit as charming and outrageous, reminiscent of the sly sex comedies of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.

“An impressive blast of Weimar decadence…As the inevitable romantic complications ensue, what emerges is a movie with surprisingly tangled gender politics and a melancholy sense of romance, crossed with lively, creative musical numbers.”
– Bilge Ebiri, Vulture/New York Magazine