Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt

It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives
In the commentary, the word “gay” is uttered 90 times, which was still being used in the context of hate speech in 1971, two years after the abolition of Section 175 of the German criminal code, which criminalized homosexual acts between males. Those affected had not yet reclaimed the word. Delivered in a declamatory tone in voiceover to silent images showing clichéd gay scenes, the commentary provoked those unwilling to hear anything about it and those who were suffering from the use of the term in equal measure. The film’s critique, expressed from a deliberately “diffuse artistic stance” (Praunheim), mixed elements of fiction and documentary films as well as of polemics and appeal, thereby queering classical film narratives. It was directed at the gay scene itself in particular, which Praunheim accused of self-imposed invisibility. The modern German gay men’s movement developed out of the discourse on visibility triggered by the film. It is a rare example of a film that has had a direct socio-political impact.
by Rosa von Praunheim
with Bernd Feuerhelm, Beryt Bohlen, Ernst Kuchling
Federal Republic of Germany 1971 German 67’ Colour


  • Bernd Feuerhelm
  • Beryt Bohlen
  • Ernst Kuchling


Written and Directed by Rosa von Praunheim
Cinematography Robert Van Ackeren
Editing Jean-Claude Piroué
Production Manager Dieter Minx
Producer Werner Kließ
Voice-Over Michael Bolze, Volker Eschke

Produced by

Bavaria Atelier

Rosa von Praunheim

Born in Riga, in 1942. He studied at the University of Art and Design Offenbach am Main and at the Berlin University of the Arts. Since 1968, von Praunheim has directed about 90 films. He made his cinema breakthrough in 1971 with the documentary Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt.

Filmography (selection)

1970 Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation in der er lebt 1973 Die Bettwurst 1976 Ich bin ein Antistar. Das skandalöse Leben der Evelyn Künneke 1981 Unsere Leichen leben noch 1984 Horror Vacui 1985 Ein Virus kennt keine Moral 1987 Anita – Tänze des Lasters 1989 Überleben in New York 1996 Neurosia – 50 Jahre pervers 2002 Tunten lügen nicht 2005 Dein Herz in meinem Hirn 2011 Die Jungs vom Bahnhof Zoo 2015 Härte

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020