Different from the Others (partially lost silent German film; 1919)
|Kino Films DVD cover.|
Different From The Others is a partially-missing German silent film from 1919. It is the earliest-known sympathetic portrayal of homosexuality in cinema. The film was made to protest a German law that made homosexual behavior a criminal offense. It was planned and partially funded by an organization whose purpose was to create "sexual freedom" for people of all sexual identities.
The plot revolved around a closeted homosexual violinist and teacher. After falling in love with one of his students, he decides to come open with him. The two hit it off romantically, and all goes well until someone creates a scandal out of it. Their partnership goes public, and the violinist's career is ruined. He commits suicide and many mourn his death and discrimination.
The film was considered controversial by general public, but it was praised by the homosexual community in Germany at the time. Many homosexuals felt that it offered an effective commentary on society's stance on the subject, reflecting how many homosexual Germans were committing suicide around this time. Many who saw the film claimed that it moved them to tears.
It is likely that the Nazis destroyed every copy they could find in WWII-era Germany. The film was thought completely lost until, amazingly, a 50-minute fragment of the film was found in the mid-1970s. A majority of the plot remains intact despite the fact that the film's original runtime is unknown. A few reconstruction efforts were made for some DVD releases. Many are happy with it having survived at all.