GREAT FREEDOM film screening


Sat, Mar 16, 2024    
7:00 pm-10:00 pm


Event Type

This “story of bittersweet beauty and unexpected tenderness” (Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post) is about a gay man in post-Nazi West Germany imprisoned again and again for the “crime” of his sexuality.

“A perceptive character study about resistance and resilience,” Gary M. Kramer writes in

“A love story — or perhaps a paradoxically platonic bromance — stretching from the end of the Second World War to the moon landing,” Peter Bradshaw writes in The Guardian.

In West Germany after World War II, the liberation by the Allies did not mean freedom for everyone. Men who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz or Dachau because they were gay, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds, were immediately moved to prisons in Munich and Berlin.

They were incarcerated for criminalized sex acts under Paragraph 175 of the West German Criminal Code, which remained in effect until 1994.

In Sebastian Meise’s film, Hans Hoffmann (Franz Rogowski) is one of the men found guilty of such acts.

For decades after the war, he is repeatedly arrested and imprisoned.

Over the course of his confinements, he develops a bond with cellmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), a convicted murderer imprisoned for life.

Hans slowly resigns himself to the belief that life for him won’t change and that the only place he’ll truly be free to express his natural love and desires is, ironically, in prison, which is intended to deny him freedom.

“Makes an exquisite case for the impossibility of caging the heart, even when love itself is criminalized,” Robert Abele writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Once again, a European filmmaker shows Americans how it should be done,” Armond White writes in the National Review.

The 2021 independent film, in German with English subtitles and whose original title is “Grosse Freiheit,” earned 42 film-festival and critic awards. Those awards include the Chicago International Film Festival’s top prize, the Gold Hugo, named for the mythical if not apocryphal “god of discovery,” and the Jury Prize in the “Un Certain Regard” section of France’s Cannes Film Festival.

The movie runs 1 hour 56 minutes and is rated R. Its trailer can be found on YouTube at

The screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion. Refreshments will be served.

Attendees over age 12 are asked to contribute $10 a person.

Movies With Spirit screenings comply with all federal, state and local health and safety protocols, including those of the screening venues.

The monthly Movies With Spirit series, organized by Gerry Harrington of Kingston, seeks to stimulate people’s sense of joy and wonder, inspire love and compassion, evoke a deepened understanding of people’s integral connection with others and with life itself, and support individual cultures, faith paths and beliefs while simultaneously transcending them.

The films are screened in diverse places of worship and reverence across Ulster and Dutchess counties at 7 p.m., generally on the third Saturday of every month. Movies With Spirit has no religious affiliation.

For more information about the “Great Freedom” screening and the rest of the series, call Harrington at 845-389-9201 or write to him at Details are also available at