Set in 1930s Berlin, the story centres around Max (Clive Owen), who is an openly gay man living in Berlin City with his boyfriend Rudy (Brian Webber II). When the two men need to leave Berlin for their own safety, Max’s Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellen) organises new papers for Max.
Max refuses to leave Rudy and so the two mean are subsequently arrested by the Nazis and sent off to the concentration camp at Dachau. On the way there, Rudy is badly beaten and killed by the Gestapo guards. Max lies and insists he is not gay.
In the camp, Max wears the yellow star, signifying the people of Jewish faith, instead of the pink star signifying homosexual prisoners. In time, Max falls in love with Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), a man who wears his pink star with pride. Horst gets Max to see the need to acknowledge his true beliefs.
Bent is a drama and a romance. The central theme of the film is the persecution of homosexuals by Nazis during World War II.
“Seventeen years after Bent was first produced on Broadway starring Richard Gere and David Dukes, Martin Sherman’s harrowing concentration camp drama about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals still has some power to unsettle.”
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“It’s tough going, often grim, but by illustrating the resilience of the human spirit in the worst conditions, it leaves a far deeper impression.”
“Bent is a viscerally affecting film, ripe with sadness and pungent with the scent of misery and suffering.”
— The Austin Chronicle
Did You Know?
Richard Gere was originally chosen to play the role of Max but due to his other commitments; Clive Owen was eventually cast instead. Ian McKellen took the leading role of Max when he starred in the Original London West End Theatre production of Bent in 1979. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Film4