The exquisite latest film from writer-director Sebastian Meise, Great Freedom paints a stirring portrait of gay resistance and resilience in post-war Germany. Sensual yet arresting, Austria’s official submission to the 2022 Academy Awards turns a humanist eye towards a heartrending past.
Unfolding across three decades, this drama traces the repeated imprisonment of one man under Paragraph 175 — a law criminalizing homosexual activity. After being “liberated” by Allied forces in 1945, Hans is transferred directly from a concentration camp to prison to finish out his sentence. There, he forms an unlikely connection with his cellmate Viktor, a convicted murder. As Hans is jailed again and again, a relationship that begins with revulsion blossoms into something far more tender.
Anchored by a transformative star turn from Franz Rogowski (Transit), Great Freedom weaves together intimate moments across time to form a personal and political epic. In the process, this Cannes prizewinner triumphs as a searing depiction of love in the face of injustice.