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This roundtable discussion marks the 105th anniversary of the film Anders als die Andern/Different from the Others (dir. Richard Oswald). Often described as the first homosexual movie, it was released in German cinemas in 1919 as part of the emancipatory efforts to abolish Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code, which criminalised sex between men. The film follows th

e story of Paul Körner, a violinist, who falls in love with his student Kurt Sivers. Their relationship comes to a tragic end when they fall victim to a blackmailer.
Contributors will discuss Anders als die Andern to reflect on questions about persecution, love and the affective complexities of queer history.

** Anders als die Andern is available on DVD "Edition Filmmuseum".

Sara Friedman
(University of California Berkeley), ‘A new democracy onscreen: Anders als die Andern and the beginning of the Weimar Republic’
Anders als die Andern was, as its lead actor Conrad Veidt put it later in an interview, a product of its time. My research on Anders als die Andern focuses less on the film itself and more on what we can learn from its development and reception. The film is a symptom of its moment and I use it as a prism through which to reflect on the unique possibilities, innovations, and perceptions characterizing Germany’s brief post-armistice “dreamland.” The film premiered in a time at which federal censorship had been abolished, in which film as a mass medium was taking off, and when progressive activists saw their opportunity to shape the new republic. In short, it premiered in a moment full of democratic optimism. My work takes the futures imagined here as its subject, a Weimar Republic full of potential, and it seeks to understand both how these imaginings came to be, as well as what limited and ultimately destroyed them.

Molly Harrabin, (University of Warwick) Anders als die Andern and Queer Cinema
This contribution will consider the insight that Anders als die Andern provides into cinematic negotiations of ‘queerness’ in the Weimar Republic and how film was used to freely explore and challenge discriminatory laws and attitudes. Anders als die Andern has certainly influenced queer cultural memory of this period in German history, but it is important to also reflect upon queer Weimar Film Studies as a scholarly field of investigation and how we can continue to engage with depictions of queer and trans* Weimar experience

Ervin Malakaj (University of British Columbia), Anders als die Andern and the Cinema of Mourning
Drawing on the over 100-year reception history of Anders als die Andern, this talk will outline how the pain encoded in its scenes has given rise to mourning as an important means by which audiences have related to the protagonist. This mourning pertains to his fate but also connects to the differentiated structural suppression of queer life in the Weimar era and queer life in its aftermath.
Biographical notes

Heike Bauer (chair), is Professor of Modern Literature & Cultural History at Birkbeck. Her publications include The Hirschfeld Archives (2017) and, more recently, work on the ‘visual archives of sex’ (Radical History Review 2022) and the dogs of Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge (Gender & History 2022) 

Sara Friedman is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of History at the University of California Berkeley, after receiving a PhD there in 2023. Recent publications include ‘Universal Language with a German Accent: Conrad Veidt in Silent Hollywood’ in the German Studies Review, and ‘Afterlives of Anders als die Andern and of Weimar’ in Central European History

Molly Harrabin is a PhD candidate in German Studies at the University of Warwick. Her thesis examines the representations of women in the Weimar films of Fritz Lang and G. W. Pabst and how these depictions fit into the directors’ respective visions of the national community. Molly is also the founder of the Weimar Film Network, and she also co-organises the Weimar 100 project at Warwick. Her work has been published in Studies in European Cinema and she is also contributing a chapter on codified queerness in G. W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box to a forthcoming edited volume.

Ervin Malakaj, Ph.D., is associate professor of German at the University of British Columbia. His book on Anders als die Andern appeared with McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2023.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.