Rosa von Praunheim is one of the rare artists who succeeded in changing the reality of society with one work of art. During the Berlinale 1971 the feature film Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt (Not the homosexual is perverse, but the situation in which he lives in) had its premiere at the International Forum of New Cinema. The film created an enormous uproar. Especially the gay people the film was about, did not want to identify themselves. Presentations, which were always accompanied by dicussions, lead to the founding of – mostly studentlike – gay groups in various cities of the Federal Republic of Germany. When, after a lengthty delay, the film was shown firstly in the public third channels it was a fulminating media event. Praunheim became the speaksperson of moved gays. Hardly any program which was concerned about the gay cause did not want to be without his presence.
In the following decades Rosa von Praunheims cinematographic works guided the long process of the emancipation of homosexuals in society. His films dealt with the AIDS-crisis, the alleged smugginess of the gay movement, the existence of extreme right wing elements in the gay minority, the fear of getting older, the perpetual theme of queers and their relationship to old women. Rosa was always in for a good surprise. Also in public life he took care of creating furore again and again: whether he outed prominent people or propagated gay sex in a provocative way.
No one was sure about his indiscrete questions about intimacy. His lust for being provocative did not diminish when he got older.
Besides all these activities, a big array of films came to life. Curiosity has always been one of the strong parts of director Praunheim. Consequently he refused to use simple acting and the alleged demands on film making. His films stayed sharp and unadjusted. Sometimes he surprised the critics with minutive documentaries, in order to turn around the arising expectations with his next film. Rosa von Praunheim has been occupied with many art forms. Besides directing films he was involved with other arts, and he is writing poems, prose and again and again his memoires.
The Schwules Museum pays a critical-loving tribute to Rosa von Praunheims 65th birthday, which documents the life and work and is searching for the influences and reactions of Rosa’s work of and in public life.
The objects shown are from the archives of the Schwules Museum, but mainly from the possessions of the artist or from the Collection of Rosa von Praunheim which has been sold to the Deutsche Kinemathek. The exhibition is being accompanied with lectures, debates, a broad cinematograhic retrospective in the Babylon Kino and other happenings.
Curator: Wolfgang Theis