The Kids in Berlin are Alright!
Berlin as an edgy queer punk Utopia
Yony Leyser’s 2015 movie, “Desire Will Set You Free”, works in much in the same way as John Cameron Mitchell’s “Short Bus” (in which I was an extra and appear on screen for all of maybe two seconds). Neither is the definitive depiction of their respective queer punk underground scenes but both are loving, lovely, unapologetically sexy movies.
The story here, as in “Short Bus”, is a thin, sparkly thread that holds its characters together and that’s all it needs to do.
Ezra, Catherine, Sasha, and Jayne, as well as all the other pretty queers and glorious Nina Hagen, are delicious to watch and, oh, that soundtrack! “Desire Will Set You Free” offers a giddy representation of queers coming from every part of the world to escape brutality, oppression, and violence to be together (and have sex together) in one magical time and place.
Unlike other movies that dip into this otherworld, however, “Desire” doesn’t gloss over the darkness and desperation sliding around under the glitter and sexiness.
While Ezra and Sasha are both part of this world, one is an ex-pat with a successful book and the other is in Germany illegally from Russia where his questioning of his gender and sexuality could be fatal. A major strength of this movie is that it acknowledges the abyss without staring into it.
Yony Leyser who wrote and directed the movie and plays the lead, Ezra, is energetic, original, and incredibly determined. This is his second movie and it was only a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the post-production budget for it.
Utopias are never cheap or easy.
© Remington Write 2019. All Rights Reserved
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