Stefan Haupt, “Der Kreis (The Circle)”

Der Kreis (The Circle) : Swiss Docudrama directed by Stefan Haupt, 2014

The Circle (German: Der Kreis) is a Swiss docudrama film, released in 2014. Written and directed by Stefan Haupt, the film depicts the social network that revolved around The Circle, a gay publication in Zurich in the 1940s and 1950s, which was scapegoated for the murders of several gay men in the city.

The film focuses in particular on the story of Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, a schoolteacher and a drag entertainer who enter a lifelong romantic relationship through their involvement in the group. The film intersperses a scripted dramatic depiction of the story, in which the couple are portrayed by Matthias Hungerbühler and Sven Schelker, with documentary interviews with the real Ostertag and Rapp. The film’s cast also includes Marianne Sägebrecht, Anatole Taubman, Antoine Monot, Jr., Stefan Witschi and Markus Merz.

The film won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, as well as the Panorama Audience Award. North American distribution rights were subsequently acquired by Wolfe Video. It was selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. Director Stefan Haupt said “it’s an honour to represent Switzerland”.

A engrossing film that shows how far we have come and what others endured.

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