A powerful German-English documentary that examines the lives of the LGBTQI+ community in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power. Directed by Benjamin Cantu, the film explores the persecution faced by queer individuals and highlights the importance of remembering and learning from history. The 92-minute Netflix documentary takes an investigative and intimate approach, with narration by renowned historians who bridge the gap between the past and the present. By connecting the events of the past to contemporary issues, the film serves as a reminder that history is not too far removed from our current reality and the dangers of forgetting it.
The documentary centers around Eldorado, a hedonistic nightclub that was the heart of the LGBTQI+ community in 1920s Berlin. Through alluring re-enactments and visuals reminiscent of old Hollywood, the film portrays Eldorado as a beacon of hope and authenticity in a world consumed by toxic hyper-masculinity. However, as the Nazi regime takes hold, the club and its patrons become targets of persecution, mirroring the hate and prejudice still faced by the queer community today.
Cantu introduces a range of characters, including Magnus Hirschfeld, a human sexuality researcher, transwomen, the gay nobleman and tennis player Gottfried von Cramm, and Ernst Röhm, a prominent Nazi who was openly gay. By showcasing these individuals and their stories, the director grounds the film in reality and includes first-hand accounts from survivors of the era. This approach personalizes the narrative, allowing the viewer to gain insight into the conversations and intimacy that took place within Eldorado and the struggles faced by its community.
The documentary effectively highlights the fragility of the liberties and acceptance experienced by marginalized communities. The choice of a somber and classical background score enhances the sense of vulnerability and the constant fear of these freedoms being taken away. It serves as a reminder that progress made in the present can never be taken for granted and that we must continuously fight for equality and acceptance.
The film also emphasizes the importance of documenting queer history. Many names and stories from the past have been lost due to a lack of documentation, and the documentary urges viewers to remember those who came before and recognize their existence. While the queer community may be more diverse and accepted today, it is crucial to acknowledge and honor the struggles of those who paved the way.
Overall, "Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate" is a compelling and essential documentary that sheds light on a bleak period of history while drawing parallels to the challenges faced by the LGBTQI+ community today. Cantu's direction, combined with intimate narratives and captivating re-enactments, creates a poignant and thought-provoking film. For those interested in untold stories and the importance of historical remembrance, this documentary is a must-watch.
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