Männerfreundschaften.jpg
 

Friendship of Men

Director: Rosa von Praunheim

D 2018, 85 min., Color, German with English subtitles

How gay was Goethe? And how about his contemporaries? Inspired by Robert Tobins “Warm Brothers - Queer Theory and the Age of Goethe”, German cult director Rosa von Praunheim asks these and other questions. He stages Goethes correspondence, lyric poetry and dramatic texts with his actors where he wrote them. „Friendship of Men“ is an enigmatic melange between feature film and documentary, intertwining homoerotic tendencies with Weimar Classicism.

Männerfreundschaften.jpg
 

Friendship of Men

Director: Rosa von Praunheim

D 2018, 85 min., Color, German with English subtitles

How gay was Goethe? And how about his contemporaries? Inspired by Robert Tobins “Warm Brothers - Queer Theory and the Age of Goethe”, German cult director Rosa von Praunheim asks these and other questions. He stages Goethes correspondence, lyric poetry and dramatic texts with his actors where he wrote them. „Friendship of Men“ is an enigmatic melange between feature film and documentary, intertwining homoerotic tendencies with Weimar Classicism.

Synopsis

Synopsis

How gay was Goethe? And how about his contemporaries? Inspired by Robert Tobins “Warm Brothers - Queer Theory and the Age of Goethe”, German cult director Rosa von Praunheim asks these and other questions. He stages Goethes correspondence, lyric poetry and dramatic texts with his actors where he wrote them. „Friendship of Men“ is an enigmatic melange between feature film and documentary, intertwining homoerotic tendencies with Weimar Classicism.

 

Credits

Cast and Crew

Writer, Diector, Producer
Rosa von Praunheim

Writer, Assistant Director
Valentina Schütz

Director of Photography
Patrick Richter

Sound
Ben Vossler

Camera, Sound
Thomas Ladenburger, Markus Tiarks, Oliver Sechting, Markus Glahn

starring
Matthias Luckey, Valentin Schmehl, Thomas Linz, Tobias Schormann, Max Conrad, Sybille Enders, Petra Hartung, Bernhard Jarosch, Sebastian Lange, Wolfgang Mirlach, Maximilian Müller, Nils Ramme, Runa Schäfer, Willi Seibt, Jakob Turkôsek

Music
Andreas Wolter

Editor & Postprocuktion
Mike Shephard

Production Manager
Markus Tiarks, Lukes Maurice Collin, Oliver Sechting, Martin Kruppe

a Rosa von Praunheim production in cooperation with MDR and ARTE
funded by Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung

 

 

Press

Press

 

‘Darkroom - Drops Of Death’ sells to North America, France (exclusive)

German distributor and sales agent missingFILMs has sold all rights for cult German director Rosa von Praunheim’s latest feature Darkroom - Drops Of Death to TLA Entertainment for North America and to Optimale for French-speaking territories.

The thriller, which is based on the true criminal case of a serial killer from 2012, had its world premiere at the Mostra Fire in Barcelona in June and is screening in Germany for the first time at the Filmfest Hamburg in the Große Freiheit sidebar.

Veteran filmmaker von Praunheim was joined for the premiere in Hamburg by the lead actors, Macedonian-born Bozidar Kocevski and Heiner Bomhard, who have also both appeared on stage at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in the director’s play ’Jeder Idiot Hat Eine Oma, Nur Ich Nicht’.

Kocevski plays a male nurse from Saarbrücken, who moves to Berlin with his lover, played by Bornhard.  Domestic bliss together seems possible as they renovate their flat but the nurse has been secretly checking out Berlin’s nightlife. Within three weeks, three men die and two survive attempted murder.

Darkroom - Drops of Death is now going on to screen at film festivals in Chicago, Brussels and Paris. 

missingFILMs previously handled international sales on von Praunheim’s Friendship Of Men and Survival In Neukölln as well as releasing them theatrically in Germany.  It will open Darkroom - Drops Of Death in Germany in January 2020. 

SCREENDAILY, Martin Blaney

_____________________________

“FRIENDSHIP OF MEN”— Intimate Relationships

Rosa von Praunheim’s “Friendship of Men” makes all kinds of assumptions about which works and correspondence from Goethe and his contemporaries.

The film is a mix of documentation, historical digression and cheerful and silly re-enactments. Based on the study “Warm Brothers – Queer Theory and the Age of Goethe” by US Germanist Robert Tobin, Praunheim allows all kinds of scientific expertise to be heard. The 18th century was a time in which men fell verbally around their neck without explicitly attaching erotic importance to it.

Rosa von Praunheim and his co-author Valentina Schütz look at a range of people that may be a little too broad to deal more closely with individual relationships: by Duke August von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, who liked to show himself in women’s clothes, via Heinrich von Kleist to Alexander von Humboldt, who also went to distant countries to be able to live out his homosexuality without sanction. The lesbian love between Adele Schopenhauer, the philosopher’s sister, and Sibylle Mertens, who maintained a “Rhenish salon,” is mentioned. It remains to be seen whether Heinrich Heine’s public disparagement of the poet August von Platen as a pederast, who “flirted with his buttocks”, actually gave the go-ahead for the criminalization and pathologizing of homosexuality that began in the mid-19th century.

Praunheim’s has a workshop character. Hearty game scenes in Weimar Park on the Ilm in front of amused throngs of schoolchildren and passers-by are loosely cut together with the scientific excursions. All contributors introduce themselves to the audience before speaking as experts or actors. This may seem foolish at times, but it reminds us of times when TV documentaries were not yet musical spectacles.

The German filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim wears a white wig from Goethe’s time in his new documentary. He takes the audience back to the era of Weimar classicism with game scenes and gives imaginative expression to the way that educated men from art and aristocratic circles used to interact. Goethe and Schiller were emotionally very involved and conducted a warm exchange of letters. But can it be concluded that the two poets have a homoerotic tendency, even practice? The director interviewed various scientists and authors. The speculative film turns out to be entertaining and informative. Because he makes the audience aware that in Goethe’s time it was quite common for men to cultivate intimate friendships.

 In the 18th century, people from better circles maintained penpals and Goethe wrote diligently, for example to his friend Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. Some of these correspondences read like love letters, but the researchers interviewed distinguish between expressions of emotion that were socially accepted and physical love. If Goethe and his friends insured themselves with affection, it was probably not meant sexually. The kisses that they sent to each other symbolized a closer feeling. Nevertheless, it is quite appealing to read passages from Goethe’s work and private letters from a homoerotic point of view and let the thoughts wander, as Rosa von Praunheim and his actors do here.

Some of the experts interviewed consider it possible that Goethe had sexual contact with men during his trip to Italy. Exciting is also the excursus to Johann Winckelmann, the founder of classical archeology, who decisively shaped Goethe’s love of classical music. He not only praised the beauty of Greek male statues, but was also known to be gay. However, the amusing film derives its special charm mainly from the fact that it shows how much more passionately heterosexual men insured their friendship than today.

Conclusion: The filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim delves into amusing speculations about the sexual orientation of Goethe, Schiller and some of her contemporaries. He immersed himself in the atmosphere of the Weimar classic with game scenes when men wrote glowing letters of friendship. The scientists he interviewed consider homoerotic tendencies to be possible with Goethe, but also point out that the expression of emotional love that was common at the time was usually not meant sexually. Speculations develop their special charm in coloring an era with other, sometimes surprisingly liberal, social customs.

Reviews by Amos Lassen

 

Biography

Biography

ROSA VON PRAUNHEIM 

was born Holger Mischwitzky in 1942 in Riga, Latvia. He was raised in the GDR just outside of Berlin up until 1953, when he fled with his parents. After a few detours, the family settled in Frankfurt am Main in the district of Praunheim, where Mischwitzky attended a humanistic high school. Leaving school early, he then studied painting at the Offenbacher Werkkunstschule (today: Offenbach University of Art and Design [HfG]). After a year, he transferred to the Berlin University of the Arts. He ended his studies without graduating. At that time, the mid-1960s, he also adopted his artist name, Rosa von Praunheim, which he sees as a reference to the Frankfurt district of Praunheim, where he lived as a child, and the “Rosa Winkle” (“pink triangle”), the symbol used to by the Third Reich to identify homosexuals in the concentration camps.


In 1967, Rosa von Praunheim made his first film, a short entitled VON ROSA VON PRAUNHEIM. His directorial debut was followed by further shorts and experimental films, including GROTESK – BURLESK – PITTORESK [GROTESQUE – BURLESQUE – PICTURESQUE] (1968) and SCHWESTERN DER REVOLUTION [SISTERS OF THE REVOLUTION] (1969). His first feature-length film, THE BED SAUSAGE (1970), quickly became considered a “cult film”. With his follow-up film, the documentary IT’S NOT THE HOMOSEXUAL WHO IS PERVERSE, BUT THE SOCIETY IN WHICH HE LIVES (1970), von Praunheim became, more or less overnight, an icon of the German gay rights movement, which also received a noticeable push by the movie. In the years that have followed, Rosa von Praunheim’s feature and documentary films have been characterised by three core motifs: the life journeys of lively, elderly women (e.g., OUR CORPSES STILL LIVE [1981]), homosexuality and Aids (e.g., A VIRUS KNOWS NO MORALS [1985]), and the city of New York (SURVIVAL IN NEW YORK [1989]).
To date, Rosa von Praunheim has directed over 70 films. More than 20 of them premiered at the Berlinale, making him the record holder. In addition to making films, since the 1960s Rosa von Praunheim has also been active as an author and has published books such as Sex und Karriere [Sex and Career], Armee der Liebenden oder Aufstand der Perversen [Army of Lovers, or Revolt of the Perverts], and Ein Penis stirbt immer zuletzt [A Penis Is Always the Last to Die]). From 2000 to 2006, he taught film direction at the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam, and in 2009 he became a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, section Film and Media Art; from 2015 to 2018, he was even the director of that section. In 2015, he added the German Federal Cross of Merit to his long list of awards.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY:

  • 1969: Sisters of the Revolution
  • 1970: Die Bettwurst
  • 1971: It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives
  • 1973: Berliner Bettwurst
  • 1973: Axel von Auersperg
  • 1977: Tally Brown, New York
  • 1979: Army of Lovers or Revolt of the Perverts
  • 1980: Rote Liebe
  • 1981: Unsere Leichen leben noch
  • 1981: Red Love
  • 1983: City of Lost Souls
  • 1984: Horror vacui
  • 1985: A Virus Knows no Morals
  • 1987: Anita: Dances of Vice
  • 1988: Dolly, Lotte and Maria
  • 1989: Survival in New York
  • 1990: Silence = Death
  • 1990: Positive
  • 1991: Affengeil
  • 1992: I Am My Own Woman
  • 1995: Neurosia: 50 Years of Perversity
  • 1999: The Einstein of Sex
  • 1999: Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please?
  • 1999: Wunderbares Wrodow
  • 2000: Fassbinder's Women
  • 2001: Tunten lügen nicht
  • 2002: Kühe vom Nebel geschwängert
  • 2002: Pfui Rosa!
  • 2002: Queens Don't Lie
  • 2005: Men Heroes and Gay Nazis
  • 2005: Your Heart in My Head
  • 2007: Two Mothers
  • 2008: Der rosa Riese
  • 2009: History of Hell
  • 2010: New York Memories
  • 2011: Rent Boys
  • 2012: King of Comics
  • 2013: ROSAS WELT - 70
  • 2014: Praunheim Memoires
  • 2014: Wie ich lernte, die Zahlen zu lieben (Producer)
  • 2015: Tough Love
  • 2016: Welcome All Sexes - 30 Years Teddy Awards
  • 2017: ACT! Who am I?
  • 2017: Survival in Neukölln
  • 2018: Men's Friendships
  • 2019: DARKROOM

 

Interview

Interview

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Festivals

Festivals

2018

Lichter Filmfest - Frankfurt

Lesbisch-Schwule Filmtage - Hamburg

Homochrom Filmfestival - Köln/Dortmund 

Queer Filmfest Weiterstadt

2019

Moving History Potsdam

 

Downloads

Downloads