Widely-known as one of the very first films about homosexuality in the history of cinema, Different from the Others tells the frank and tragic story of an outstanding violinist, Paul Körner (Conrad Veidt), and his love affair with one of his students. A devoted admirer of his music, Kurt Sivers (Fritz Schulz) aspires to one day be tutored by his idol and finally visits Paul and asks him for violin lessons.
The renowned virtuoso harbors a well-kept secret – he is gay and deeply fears being prosecuted by the law. Although Körner is famous and revels in admiration, he is unable to truly and unreservedly express hismelf. As the two men grow closer together, their affection is witnessed by a man Paul had previously met in a men-only dance hall, who goes on to blackmail Körner about his harmless, but nonetheless compromising love affair.
The only film to treat the subject of homosexuality so candidly and sensibly at such an early time, Different from the Others made a necessary, albeit controversial political statement, revealing that homosexuality is, in fact, “common to all nature”. In the context of rigorous and often damaging norms that have prevaded Germany’s culture throughout the years, Oswald’s self-reflective film sheds some light on the daunting and disheartening implications of living within rigid, bigoted societal standards and laws.
“All prints of the film, along with Hirschfeld’s research, were burned by the Nazis when they seized power in the 1930s.”
Did You Know?
Different from the Others was co-written by the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and was funded by the doctor’s Institute for Sexual Science. Hirschfeld also made a cameo appearance in the film. The film was initially thought to have disappeared, as a great deal of the footage was prepensly destroyed by the Nazis. However, an incomplete print was discovered in 1976, in Ukraine and Different from the Others was remade by Hirschfeld and Oswald as The Laws of Love. Review our Gay Themed Films Here