I watch Germany’s Oscar entry, “Great Freedom”

I watch Germany’s Oscar entry, “Great Freedom” March 12, 2022

for America:

The new German historical drama “Great Freedom” opens with surveillance footage of a public toilet. The industrial shuddering of the film projector provides the only soundtrack as we—and someone else—watch men enter the toilets and find sexual partners. This scene sets up the movie’s plotline: Hans Hoffmann (Franz Rogowski) will return to prison after yet another violation of Paragraph 175, the law prohibiting sexual contact between men. But it also encapsulates the movie’s themes, and the artistic techniques by which the writer and director Sebastian Miese illustrates those themes.

“Great Freedom” is about the longing for connection, under circumstances where connection with another person will be punished with isolation, no matter how squalid, brief, unintelligible or unfree—not love exactly, or not always, but the result of the same need within us that drives us into love.


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