‘The Circle’ is the official Swiss submission to the 87th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language film.
Zurich: 1958. The bashful teacher Ernst Ostertag and the German cabaret artist Robi Rapp get to know one another in the Swiss underground organization called “Der Kreis.” (The Circle). As the two dissimilar men defend their love, they witness the heyday and decline of this Europe-wide pioneering organization for gay emancipation.
Founded in the early 1940s, the network around the magazine ‘Der Kreis’ (’The Circle’) was the only gay organisation to survive the Nazi regime. It blossomed during the post-war years into an internationally renowned underground club. Legendary masked balls at the Theater am Neumarkt in Zurich provided 800 visitors from all over Europe with a secret and safe space to act out their ‘otherness’ in a self-determined way. It is there that timid teacher Ernst Ostertag falls in love with drag star Röbi Rapp. Ernst searches for a way to fight for his gayness to be accepted as normal outside the boundaries of ‘The Circle’ network without losing his employment as a teacher. Röbi champions the joint fruition of their love. Following a murder in the gay community, violent repression against gay people also endangers ‘The Circle’ network.
Stefan Haupt’s new film uncovers the fascinating universe of one of the first gay liberation communities. Enriched by impressive conversational records with Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, the film depicts a decades-long love story—made taboo by society—and reveals the couple’s inspiring self-knowledge and courage.
The Circle (Der Kreis) opens in theaters in the US:
November 14 Palm Springs Camelot Theatre
November 21 New York Quad Cinemas
December 18 Los Angeles Laemmle Music Hall