Hollywood action director Wolfgang Petersen (the man behind Enemy Mine, Troy, Outbreak, Air Force One, In the Line of Fire, The NeverEnding Story, The Perfect Storm, Das Boot and more) made this surprisingly tender, though highly controversial prison-set gay German romance way back in 1977.
Jurgen Prochnow stars as Martin, who is sent to prison for the seduction of a minor. There, he meets and is immediately drawn to Thomas (Ernst Hannawald), the teenage son of one of the guards. After Martin’s release, the boy runs away from home to live with him. And despite threats from the boy’s father and the authorities, their love flourishes as the two are determined to live their life together – unprepared for the wrath triggered by their actions.
Filmed in and almost documentary style from a script written by Petersen himself, based on a novel by Alexander Ziegler, the two men’s relationship is depicted as sensual, tender and poignant. Petersen has said the audience “should gradually forget that it is actually about the relationship between two men… (and) should feel empathy with two people who fall in love with each other but who happen to be men. Perhaps in this way, some of the people will be changed.” And despite the taboo nature of the relationship, Petersen‘s touching tale is a bittersweet plea for understanding and compassion.