In post-war Germany, Hans (a remarkable performance from Franz Rogowski) finds himself repeatedly incarcerated in a high-security prison. With Paragraph 175 outlawing the ‘unnatural sex act committed between persons of male sex’, Hans is continually forced to pay a heavy price for his desire to live an authentic life.
As the decades roll by, Hans finds a succession of lovers during his stints behind bars, but one constant emerges in his fractured existence – his friendship with cell mate Viktor. Serving a life sentence for murder, Viktor’s initial hostility and revulsion towards Hans slowly begins to thaw, and over time the unlikely pair develop an intense and primal bond.
Set across three different timelines, Sebastian Meise’s arresting drama offers a powerful reflection on historical injustice and the persecution of homosexuals, as seen through the eyes of one man. It is a hard-hitting, often uncompromising piece of work, yet beneath its tough exterior lies a deeply unsentimental, disarmingly tender love story that is almost impossible to forget.