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Kino-Q: The AIDS Trilogy, Pt. III - The Fire Under Your Ass (1990)

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Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street Northwest

#03 (Entrance on 20th St. lower level)

Washington, DC 20006

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6:00 - 6:30 pm: Reception and tour of Queer as German Folk exhibit

6:30pm: Screening of The Fire Under Your Ass

As a part of the Goethe-Institut North America’s „Queer as German Folk“ series – in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising as a milestone in the fight for gender diversity and equality – the Goethe-Institut Washington and its many local project partners have selected a number of culturally- and historically-significant films from Germany and North America, highlighting various aspects of queer rights movements. We present Kino-Q, a film series that guides viewers through parts of this history, paired with expert-led discussions.

The AIDS Trilogy, Pt. III: The Fire Under Your Ass (Feuer unterm Arsch) (1990), dir. Rosa von Praunheim

An introduction to the film will be provided by Dr. Richard Wetzell, a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. A discussion will follow.

Federal Republic of Germany and United States, 1990, 50 min., in German with English subtitles.

Directed by Rosa von Praunheim.

The third film of The AIDS Trilogy is dedicated to the German gay community, who is not interested in "Safe Sex" - much less the safer sex "with Mother Earth," which Allen Ginsberg envisioned for dealing with a planet contaminated by AIDS. In Berlin, the gay capital of Germany, Praunheim encounters a persistent party atmosphere and attitudes which reject the notion of safe sex. The extreme response of young gay men who refuse to allow their hard-won identity as gay men to be reduced to an identification with AIDS through sexual restraint is encapsulated by one interviewee's statement: "You have the freedom to fuck to death." In Germany, Praunheim also tracked down political activists, but, according to his observations, they are associated with the unpleasant reality of the AIDS-Crisis and shunned for their role in speaking truth to power.

A discussion will follow the film.

Director Rosa von Praunheim was born in Riga, Latvia, during the Nazi occupation of the Baltic States in 1942. He was born in a Latvian prison where his mother, Edith Radtke, was being held captive. When his mother was murdered by Nazi doctors in a Berlin psychiatric hospital, von Praunheim was adopted and christened Holger Bernhard Bruno Waldemar Mischwitzky. Initially an East Berliner, von Praunheim’s family escaped into West Germany in 1953. He began working in film and creative writing in the 1960, at which point he chose “Rosa von Praunheim” as his stage name. In 1971, he released his groundbreaking documentary, It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives, which prompted the founding of several gay rights groups throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A prolific documentarian and feature film director, von Praunheim regularly pushed the envelope across genres, and closely examined activism, the AIDS crisis, societal norms, and shifting social dynamics within queer communities. An eccentric and at times controversial filmmaker, von Praunheim continues to work and live in Berlin.

Discussion moderator Dr. Richard Wetzell is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC, editor of the GHI’s Bulletin, and an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University. He studied at Swarthmore College (BA) and did his graduate work in European history at Columbia University (MA) and Stanford University (Ph.D). He was a Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and has taught at the University of Maryland and the Catholic University of America. His publications include Beyond the Racial State: Rethinking the Third Reich (co-edited, 2017), Crime and Criminal Justice in Modern Germany (ed., 2014), and Engineering Society: The Role of the Human and Social Sciences in Modern Societies, 1880-1980 (co-edited, 2012). His main areas of research interest include modern German history, legal history, cultural history, history of science and medicine, history of deviance and social control and history of sexuality.

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Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street Northwest

#03 (Entrance on 20th St. lower level)

Washington, DC 20006

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