In post-war Germany, Hans (Franz Rogowski), a gay man, is caught in a continuous cycle of surveillance and incarceration as a result of paragraph 175, a law which criminalises homosexuality. After being ‘liberated’ by the Allied forces in 1945, Hans is transferred directly from a concentration camp to prison to finish out his sentence. There, he develops an unlikely bond with his cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murder. As Hans returns to prison again and again over a period of three decades, a relationship that begins with revulsion blossoms into something far more tender. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes, and anchored by an exceptional performance from Franz Rogowski, Sebastian Meise’s Great Freedom is a searing depiction of love in the face of injustice.
Notes by David O Mahony