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Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis

Rosa von Praunheim takes on uniform fetishes, extreme-right skinheads, gays in the original Nazi leadership, and more in his latest docu, "Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis" somehow weaving it all together into a compelling look at the appeal of fascism. Beyond gay-fest travel, feature could score select offshore telecast and DVD deals.

With:
With: Ewald Althans, Joerg Fischer, Rainer Fromm, Rudiger Lautmann.

Ever-provocative and prolific Rosa von Praunheim takes on uniform fetishes, extreme-right skinheads, gays in the original Nazi leadership, and more in his latest docu, “Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis” somehow weaving it all together into a compelling look at the appeal of fascism — even to those who are its frequent victims. Beyond gay-fest travel, feature could score select offshore telecast and DVD deals.

Given the often personal, sometimes lurid and typically gay-related nature of his films (and his ubiquity as a German public personality), it’s perhaps easy to overlook the fact von Praunheim has, over the course of more than 35 years, created one of the most fascinating sociopolitical-docu oeuvres in the world. “Men” is well up to par, making something coherent (if not conclusive) out of several overlapping themes, archival footage and interviews with current or former radical nationalists. Anti-immigrant sentiments, uber-masculinity fixations and obliviousness toward the movement’s general homophobia are noted. Pic also finds room to consider “new Fuhrer” Michael Kuhnen, a closeted neo-Nazi leader who died of AIDS, and the tolerated (to a point) homosexuality of Hitler’s SA commander Ernst Rohm. Package is lively and well turned.

Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis

Germany

Production: A Rosa von Praunheim Filmproduktion production in association with NDR TV. Produced by Rosa von Praunheim. Executive producer, Barbara Denz. Directed by Rosa von Praunheim.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Lorenz Haarmann; editor, Stefan Kobe. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 23, 2005. Running time: 78 MIN.

With: With: Ewald Althans, Joerg Fischer, Rainer Fromm, Rudiger Lautmann.

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