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The Circle

Der Kreis

Switzerland | 2014 | 102 minutes | Stefan Haupt

In the 1950s, Zurich group Der Kreis (“The Circle”) blossomed into an internationally renowned gay liberation community. Schoolteacher Ernst Ostertag and drag performer Röbi Rapp fight for their love, made taboo by society, with inspiring courage, in this hybrid documentary/narrative.

June 3, 2014
xHarvard Exit  
9:30 PM Date has passed
June 8, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
12:00 PM Date has passed
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Based on a true story, The Circle tells the story of Ernst, a young teacher in 1950s Zurich who lives an existence that forces him to choose between expressing his true devotion to the man he loves, and hiding his secret from those around him in order to maintain his successful career. Motivated by the freedom that comes with standing up for who you are, Ernst nurtures his intimate relationship with his lover Robi, an entertainer by night, and the two of them participate in what has been called the very first gay rights movement. The inclusive self-help organization “The Circle” remained a beacon for the gay community in Switzerland until 1967, when the government’s relentless raids successfully shut them down. In this love memoir, filmmaker Stefan Haupt weaves together present-day documentary footage of Robi and Ernst in which they recount their experiences living in a dangerously homophobic and oppressive culture, with fictional reenactments of their journey—poignantly expressing what it’s like to fight for forbidden love.

Director Biography

Stefan Haupt was born in Zurich in 1961. He attended the Zurich Drama School from 1985 to 1988, obtaining a degree in Theater Education. Since 1989 he has worked as a director and independent filmmaker. In 1998 he founded his own production company, Fontana Film, in Zurich. His feature film debut Utopia Blues was honored with the Zurich Film Prize and the Swiss Film Prize, among others. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is one of the most successful Swiss documentary films to date, with some 300,000 viewers throughout Europe. From 2008 to 2010 Stefan Haupt was president of the Swiss Filmmakers Association, and from 2007 to 2012 a board member of the foundation of SWISS FILMS, the promotion agency. Stefan Haupt is married to actress Eleni Haupt; they live in Zurich with their four children.

Sponsored by Jonathan Merker Counseling LLC

Director: Stefan Haupt
Principal Cast: Marianne Sägebrecht, Anatole Taubman, Matthias Hungerbühler, Sven Schelker, Antoine Monot Jr.
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2014
Running Time: 102 minutes
Producer: Urs Frey
Screenplay: Stefan Haupt, Christian Felix, Ivan Madeo, Urs Frey
Cinematographers: Tobias Dengler
Editors: Christoph Menzi
Music: Federico Bettini
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: Berlin Film Festival 2014 (Teddy Award for Best Doc, Panorama Audience Award)
Filmography: Sagrada (Doc, 2012); How About Love (2010); A Song for Argyris (Doc, 2006); Downtown Switzerland (Doc, 2004); Elisabeth Kübler-Roth: Facing Death (Doc, 2003); Utopia Blues (2001); I’m Just a Simple Person (Doc, 1999)
Language: Swiss-German, German
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: HDCAM
US Distributor: The Film Collaborative
International Sales: Wide Management
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