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Desire

Stuart Marshall
1989
87 mins Colour Sound 16 mm

Desire

From 1910- 1945 Germany was subjected to one of the most turbulent periods of social and political change that has been experienced by any European country in the twentieth century.

In Desire, Stuart Marshall traces cultural and official attitudes towards sexuality through this period as competing forces struggled to define the meanings of masculinity and feminity.

The pre-revolutionary youth movement and its connections with the naturist movement or 'body culture' are humorously illustrated with contemporary promotional footage from the German Nudist Movement. Sensitive and incisive interviews with historians and eye-witnesses document the history of the homosexual rights movement and the social sexual experiments of the revolutionary Weimar period which culminated in the extreme persecution of sexual radicals under the Nazis.

Throughout the film, idyllic images of German landscape and oppressive Nazi architecture are set to the music of Schubert and Mahler creating a moving and stirring backdrop to the testimony of the survivors.

Maya Vision Press Release, 1989

Stuart Marshall's forceful new film (separately commissioned, but screened in Britain as part of - and the most-watched episode of - Channel Four's lesbian and gay magazine series) isn't just about the holocaust. Sub-headed "Sexuality in Germany 1910-1945", it digs up a whole deal of stories leading to the Nazi extermination of lesbians and gay men. The body and nature worship cult; the deification of same-sex friendships; the growth of gay bars; the persecution of sexual radicals - Marshall's interviews add up to a sharp analysis of the anxieties and inconsistencies in the rise of Nazism. Of course the massacre is a hideous and appalling historical fact. But Desire aims to get more out of the death toll than anger or upset.

Mark Finch 1990.

Commissioned for Out, Channel 4.

Produced by Maya Vision

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