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The Circle

  • 2017
  • PG-13
  • 128min
  • 15%
  • 5.3 / 10

Meek and mild schoolteacher Ernst Ostertag finds himself drawn to drag entertainer Röbi Rapp when he joins a gay organization called The Circle. As their relationship deepens, Ernst becomes conflicted between keeping his bourgeoisie status and committing to homosexuality.

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Der Kreis was a Swiss gay magazine published internationally from 1932 to 1967. It began as a collaborative project of Laura Thoma of Amicitia and August Bambula of Excentric Club Zurich. Initially, the magazine’s content focused on lesbianism and politically-inclined. From 1933 to 1944, Anna Vock took over the editorial administration. The magazine caught the ire of tabloids Sheinwerfer and Guggu for creating an uproar of moral outrage about homosexuality. This eventually led to a repeated loss of employment. By 1942, most lesbian writers had already left the magazine. Des Kreis leaned towards a more gay-inclined content, with actor Karl Meier assuming the editorship. By 1957, the magazine’s bimonthly circulation had climbed to 1,900 copies. It had over 700 subscribers across Europe and the U.S. It was the only gay magazine that persevered through the Third Reich and World War II. Originally written in German, the Der Kreis added a French section in 1942 and an English section in 1954. The magazine contained news, short stories, poems, photographs, illustrations, and reports on scientific research. Meier wanted the magazine’s content to promote friendship over sex. The magazine saw a decline in readership in the 1960s because younger gay readers preferred Scandinavian magazines that promoted voyeurism. Der Kreis’ last publication was in 1967.

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about the movie

Written and directed by Stefan Haupt, The Circle (German: Der Kreis) is a 2014 Swiss docudrama film set in Zurich in the 1950s. It revolves around the beginnings of Europe’s first gay rights organization called Der Kreis (The Circle). This Teddy Award-winning film stars Matthias Hungerbühler and Sven Schelker as the lead cast.