Pioneers of Queer Cinema

Playing through Thursday, June 25.

  • Ticket price: $15 for viewing within a 10-day rental period.
  • How to watch: Available to watch through the Kino Now app for Roku and Apple TV, or through your internet browser on your computer, phone, or tablet.

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Amherst Cinema is excited to present three landmark films of queer cinema. Enjoy these pioneering 1920s and '30s German films in beautiful restorations, all available for a single $15 digital ticket.

88 min | dir. Leontine Sagan and Carl Froelich | in German with subtitles | 1931

As a new student at an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with the compassionate teacher Fräulein von Bernburg, and her feelings are requited. Experiencing her first love, lonely Manuela also discovers the complexities that come with an illicit romance. This artfully composed landmark of lesbian cinema – and an important anti-fascist film – was the first of just three films directed by Leontine Sagan.

"One of the few genuine women's films of the 30s." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader

94 min | dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer | in German with subtitles | 1924

Danish film master Carl Theodor Dreyer's MICHAEL is a mature and visually elegant period romance decades ahead of its time. MICHAEL takes its place alongside Dreyer's better known masterpieces as an unusually sensitive and decorous work of art and is one of the earliest and most compassionate overtly gay-themed films in movie history. Based upon Herman Bang's 1902 novel, Dreyer's Michael refashions the classical Greek myth of Jupiter and Ganymede into a love triangle between aging artist Zoret, his protagonist Michael, and Princess Zamikoff, an aristocratic femme fatale as entranced by Michael's youthful beauty as Zoret is.

"Closeups of burning intensity and opulent tableaux of frozen horror suggest the great director's transcendent theme, of divine grace granted and withheld." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker

98 min | dir. Reinhold Schünzel | in German with subtitles | 1933

In this dazzling musical romance, a young woman (Renate Müller), unable to find work as a music hall singer, partners with a down-and-out thespian (Hermann Thimig) to revamp her act. Pretending to be a man performing in drag, Victoria becomes the toast of the international stage. But she soon finds that her playful bending of genders enmeshes her personal and professional life in a tangle of unexpected complications. Produced in the final days of the Weimar Republic, VICTOR AND VICTORIA received limited exposure in the United States, and is today best known by Blake Edwards's 1982 remake and the 1995 Broadway production. Viewers will be delighted to discover that the original is every bit as charming and outrageous, reminiscent of the sly sex comedies of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.

"Stands as a remarkable example of late Weimar popular cinema and easily takes its place alongside contemporary Hollywood work by Ernst Lubitsch." - Rick Thompson, Senses of Cinema