A landmark film almost lost to history, Different from the Others (1919) is widely considered the first feature-length film aimed at a specifically gay audience made all the more significant for its humanistic depiction of gay men and its explicit plea for the end of their social and legal persecution. Soon-to-be screen legend Conrad Veidt plays Paul Koerner, a celebrated concert violinist who lives under constant fear of blackmail and imprisonment because of Germany’s antigay law, Article 175. When his relationship with a new protégé raises suspicions, all of Koerner’s fears become real.
UCLA Film & Television Archive
Conrad Veidt’s uncompromising performance (the same year as his legendary portrayal of Cesar the somnambulist in Caligari) places a human face on Hirschfeld’s reformist fervor and Oswald’s tragic melodrama. In its frank depiction of gay bars, closeted homosexuality, and the suffocating expectations of straight society, Different From the Others is both a fascinating time capsule and a remarkably modern cinematic plea for tolerance and change.
Digital restored version courtesy of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project.
Accompanied by piano: Matias Tyni