“Desire Will Set You Free“ by Yony Leyser (2015)

A Somehow-MUST-SEE: Berlin got a new documentation movie, focussing on the queer side. Packed with cameos of the queer Berlin underground, it’s more a name dropper than a real portrait of the city. Ezra is an U.S.american-palestinian-israelic author who wastes his time at the Berghain, doing drugs and hang out with his slutty queer misanthropic friend Catharine, who thinks, she’s a shocker in nazi uniform. They drift through the nights and days and at a gay bar Ezra meets Sasha, an androgynous cutie. Sasha is a hooker and the city shows him the opportunity that he may not be a boy. On his journey he meets a lot of trans* people, who actually are a important part of the Berlin community.

To be honest: I’m not a fan of this movie. I hate to say this, because I am one of the few real Berliners you will find who will never complain about the so called “Zugezogenen“. I love how international this city became, but Catherine and Ezra are two walking north-american clichés who think everything they know about this city is so new to everyone, even every Berliner is trembling in reverence. At the end of the movie I really had a hard time dealing with all those useless phrases and narcism.


The mixture of documentation and movie is a nice idea, but it doesn’t really work, the improvisations are too cheeky. I love the scene were Sasha meets the Trans* community at the Open Air and when they talk about their lives and experiences, it’s the only real moment in this movie. The scenes are very short, Leyser was inspired by the ephemerality of an Instagram timeline. The soundtrack at least is great. Rummelsnuff and Peaches are only two of the released artists. The cameos are also awesome: the girlfriend of Catherine is Amber Benson who acted as Willow’s witch girlfriend in „Buffy“ (fan moment!). But you will also see Nina Hagen, Blix Bargeld, Sookee, rosa von Praunheim and so on and on and on…


Leyser said he wanted to make a queer portrait of the city, because the movies he knows about Berlin are heteronormative, but Berlin is queer. Well, that’s absolutely right, but his queer obviously isn’t my queer.

desire-will-set-you-free-01Being queer isn’t just taking drugs and fucking in a park or talking about how muuuuuuuch you love cupcakes and yoga and living in an open relationship. On the other hand there so many facets of Berlin, he just gave us a glimpse into his universe. A had a conversation about „Desire Will Set You Free“ and we decided that we don’t find ourselves in that Berlin, but that the film still is an important one.

cast and music: Yony Leyser, Tim Fabian Hoffmann, Chloe Griffin, Amber Benson, Joe Grainger, Onur Akkilic, Sookee, Mika Risiko, Sarah Adorable, Nina Hagen, Max Appenroth, Labanna Babalon, Anton Andreew, Peaches, Rummelsnuff, Rosa von Praunheim