Great films in Berlin cinemas for gays, lesbians, and the queer community

The cold months are just around the corner. On rainy days, what could be better than escaping to the cinema! Autumn and winter in particular are considered the busiest seasons in terms of film quality and screenings. However, the cinema programmes can sometimes be overwhelming. That's why we've put together a list of great queer films that will be released in cinemas over the next few months.

A film about freedom and identity - Joyland.


Haider lives in a multi-generational household in Lahore, Pakistan. His wife works as a beautician, and he looks after his brother's children and his sick father. Under pressure from his family, he looks for a job appropriate for a man and finds one as a backing dancer for a trans woman at the theatre. There is a palpable mutual attraction between the two. While he tries to make sense of his feelings, his wife - who gave up her job under pressure from her family and now takes care of the household - is in danger of losing all her zest for life. The film is about the desire for freedom and identity, but also about the harshness of reality. Despite one or two small cliché traps, Joyland is recommendation worthy.

Joyland (Drama, Pakistan)
In cinemas from November 9, 2023
Director: Salim Sadiq
Further information via Trigon-Film

A young gay man in the city: Drifter


Berlin is considered one of the party capitals of the world. However, with all its delightful temptations, the city also has a number of pitfalls, such as excessive drug use on the nightlife scene.

In Drifter, Moritz moves to the German metropolis for his friend and is initially somewhat overwhelmed by the city. He comes from a sheltered small town and can't relate to the party and drug scene. However, before he knows it, he, like many others, is drawn into Berlin's maelstrom of sex, drugs, and techno. The director does not fully exploit the potential of the chosen subject matter - but the portrayal of a young gay man who loses himself in the big city of Berlin certainly provides plenty to talk about afterwards in a cosy bar.

Drifter (Drama, Germany)
In cinemas from November 2, 2023
Director: Hannes Hirsch
Further information via Salzgeber

A feminist must: Smoke Sauna Sisterhood.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

What does it mean to be a woman? Director Anna Hints explores this question in her intimate documentary film. In a sauna in the forest, several women come together to have a sauna and share stories about their experiences as women. Topics such as sexual violence are also addressed.

Hints' camera work is breath-taking, because you almost feel as if you were sitting in the sauna with the women. The film is an absolute must-see, especially in a small and cosy cinema. Get ready for conversations afterwards that last well into the night.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Documentary, Estonia, France, Island)
Director: Anna Hints
In cinemas from November 23, 2023
Further information via Neue Visionen

Campy, trashy und political: Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe

Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe

Trash, camp, and queerness go together as well as John Waters, Divine, and the 1970s. The new largely crowd-funded film by trans* artist Harvey Rabbit shows that even today an absolute extravaganza can be created with a small budget and a group of creative minds. The project was created in response to the violence experienced by the queer community in Orlando in 2016 and in countries such as Chechnya.

The three main characters in the film are Captain Faggotron, Queen Bitch, and Father Gaylord. It deals with themes such as internalised homophobia and heteronormativity, but in an edgier way than most films. Director Harvey Rabbit will be present at many screenings.

Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe (Trash-Comedy, Germany)
Director: Harvey Rabbit
In cinemas from December 12, 2023
Further Information via Salzgeber

Moving, realistic and utopian: Life is Not a Competition, But I am Winning.

Life is Not a Competition, But I am Winning

"If history is written by the victors, where does that leave those who were never allowed to be part of the game?" For several years now, there has been a debate in competitive sport about the participation of trans athletes and people whose testosterone levels are considered above average. There is talk of unfair advantages for trans women, for example. Unfortunately, what is rarely talked about is the discrimination against these trans people, who are denied the experience of victory. For her "documentary film with fictional elements", director Julia Fuhr Mann brought together exclusively women and queer people, both in front of and behind the camera. On the one hand, she tells the story of competitive sport and, on the other, she creates a utopia in which everyone can be who they are on the tartan track.

Life is Not a Competition, But I am Winning (Documentary, Germany)
Director: Julia Fuhr Mann
In cinemas from December 14, 2023
Further information via Julia Fuhr Mann

A story about a relationship between artists in Knochen und Namen.

Knochen und Namen

The feature film debut of actor and director Fabian Stumm premiered at this year's Berlinale in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section. Stumm wrote and directed the film and also plays one of the main roles in front of the camera. In his debut film, he plays an actor who has been together with his partner, a writer, for many years. However, the relationship has petered out into mutual indifference. Stressful rehearsals for one and writer's block for the other exacerbate the situation.

Knochen und Namen (Drama, Germany)
Director: Fabian Stumm
In cinemas from January 14, 2024
Further information via Salzgeber

A drama about money, love and being gay: Norwegian Dream.

Norwegian Dream

Another feature film debut comes from Norway in February. Leiv Igor Devold tells the story of Robert, a young Pole who wants to pay off his family's debts by working in a fish factory near Trondheim. He quickly makes friends with other Polish workers there but meets a young man, the adopted son of the factory owner, Ivar, who arouses his curiosity. Ivar is unclear about being gay - something Robert doesn't dare to do either in this male-dominated setting. When a strike takes place at the factory, Robert has to decide whether the money or his love for Ivar is more important to him.

Norwegian Dream (Drama, Norway, Poland, Germany)
Director: Leiv Igor Devold
In cinemas from February 2, 2024
Further information via Salzgeber

Queer, entertaining and with a top-class cast: Drive-Away Dolls

Drive-Away Dolls

Drive-Away Dolls, a queer Hollywood production, will be released in German cinemas in mid-March. In his first feature film, which he directed, Ethan Cohen brings to the big screen a quirky crime road movie with a first-class cast. Alongside established greats such as Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal, up-and-coming stars such as Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Beanie Feldstein appear in front of the camera. After an unpleasant break-up with her ex-girlfriend, Qualley wants to experience a change of scene and persuades her uptight friend, played by Viswanathan, to go on a road trip. In the process, however, they unintentionally attract the attention of a few gangsters. The trailer promises good entertainment like that in "Fargo", a film directed by Ethan and his brother Joel.

Drive-Away Dolls (Roadmovie, USA)
Director: Ethan Cohen
In cinemas from March 7, 2024
Further information via Filmstarts

Young, complicated love: Aristoteles und Dante entdecken die Geheimnisse des Universums

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

This adaptation of Benjamin Alire Sáenz's eponymous novel, which has already generated a sequel, is a somewhat more mainstream production. The film centres on teenagers Aristotle and Dante, both children of American-Mexican families in the late 1980s. A friendship quickly turns into something more, but their backgrounds, time and circumstances complicate their budding young love.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Teen-Roamnce, USA)
Director: Aitch Alberto
In cinemas from February 8, 2024
Further information via Filmstarts

Cult: Das Kino International mit Mongay

Mongay at Kino International

If you don't want to bother with generic cinema programming, Mongay at Kino International is the place for you. A queer film is shown here every Monday, often before its official release date. There are also often Q&As with the filmmakers or anniversaries of queer classics. Kino International is a legendary cinema. The first gay GDR film, "Coming Out", premiered here on 9 November 1989 - exactly on the day the Berlin Wall came down. This meant that "Coming Out" was the first and last queer GDR film to be produced.

Mongay in Kino International
Each Monday from 10 pm
Further information via Yorck

Further information

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You can find a complete overview of all events for every single da on the event pages of SIEGESSÄULE, Berlin's famous queer city magazine.

Words: Julian Beyer

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