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Great Freedom

Country: Austria, Germany, Language: German, 117 mins

Original Title

Grosse Freiheit
  • Director: Sebastian Meise
  • Writer: Sebastian Meise, Thomas Reider
  • Producer: Benny Drechsel, Sabine Moser, Oliver Neumann

CGiii Comment

71 years after Genet's incredible Un Chant D’Amour - comes a film that equals, if not surpasses, the maestro's classic.

Great Freedom is something very special indeed...this is not your usual prison drama, this is a bold philosophical statement that should leave you breathless, bewildered and numb.

There is no freedom without is freedom!

Are you numb? Petrified? Unloved?

With the ever-increasing 'freedoms' gay men are experiencing/enjoying's difficult, for the younger generations especially, to imagine how treacherous a gay man's life was...before the decriminalisation of homosexuality. 

Hans Hoffmann was born in the wrong country at the wrong time...Nazi Germany inherited the infamous Paragraph 175 and strengthened it...sending 'convicted' gay men to prison, then, upon release, they were ensnared with Umerziehung -basically, they were sent to a concentration die.

In post-war Germany, a vicious circle of 'recidivism' was created that lasted until were incarcerated over and over again. Hans Hoffmann survived the camp, only to be imprisoned again...and, again...and, again. His crime...his search for love...for freedom.

Sebastian Meise does not shy away from from the unpalatable side of that search...cottaging. Those standing on the moral high-ground condemn this practice absolutely. But...when needs must and the law prohibits...desperate and dangerous acts ensue. Yes, yes...we all know that sex isn't love...but, sex is a release and a potential stepping-stone to freedom.

Hans Hoffmann's story is told in the here-and-now and in the then-and he survived is testament to the strength of the human spirit. Franz Rogowski and Georg Friedrich deliver powerhouse performances...this is much more than opposites attract - this is the husbandry of love.

Tennyson rings...

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Are you numb? Petrified? Unloved?

Hans Hoffmann loved and loves...his greatest love led to his freedom. 

Define love. Define freedom. This film defines. This film is definitive. A less.


The(ir) Blurb...

In postwar Germany, Hans is imprisoned again and again for being homosexual. The one steady relationship in his life becomes his long time cell mate, Viktor, a convicted murderer. What starts in revulsion grows to something called love.

Cast & Characters

Franz Rogowski (as Hans)
Georg Friedrich (as Viktor)
Anton von Lucke (as Leo)
Thomas Prenn (as Oskar)
Fabian Stumm