Querelle is a story of love, betrayal, murder, and discovering sexual identity.
The film shares its name with its protagonist Georges Querelle (Brad Davis) a sailor who comes to terms with his sexuality in the film. The film begins when his ship, the Le Vengeur, docks in the French coastal town of Brest, and Querelle makes his way to Feria – a brothel and bar for sailors. The brothel is run by the Madame Lysiane (Jeanne Moreau), whose lover Robert (Hanno Pöschl) is Querelle’s brother with whom Querelle has a strange love/hate relationship. In a tarot reading session Lysiane reveals to Robert that his brother is in danger.
Querelle is on the hunt for partners in a drug deal and seeks out Robert’s help. He forms a partnership with Vic (Dieter Schidor) but ends up murdering him after having an argument on the merits of gay sex.
In wanting to help his friend Gil (Hanno Pöschl’s second role) escape for murdering a co-worker, Robert introduces him to Querelle. Gil bares a startling resemblance to Robert and an intense attraction between Gil and Querelle develops. This does not, however, stop Querelle in a bizarre twist, from implicating Gil in Vic’s murder.
“It is an enigmatic key to two of the twentieth century’s most perceptively disturbing, and illuminating, artists: Genet and Fassbinder.”
— Jim’s Reviews
“Querelle is probably one of the “gayest” films in cinema history. The very artificial set is always bathed in a warm red glow, and is dotted with castle towers that are, literally, shaped like penises.”
Did You Know?
Querelle was the last film made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and was posthumously released not long after the director lost his life due to a drug overdose. Werner Schroeter, Sam Peckinpah and John Schlesinger were considered to take on the role as director before Fassbinder was given the job. The film may have been considered controversial by some, but it is interesting to note that in the first few weeks after release, more than 100 000 tickets were sold in Paris. Review our Gay Themed Films Here