“WE ARE DANCERS” Standing Defiantly


Standing Defiantly

Amos Lassen

“We Are Dancers” is writer/director Joe Morris’ look at the imagined world of Hansi Sturm, a real cabaret performer whose fate is unknown beyond the rise of the Nazis in 1933. Morris re-imagines those last days as Sturm is conflicted between fleeing with his younger queer friends or standing defiantly in the face of an all too familiar threat of self-loathing from within his own gay circle. The film evokes Sturm’s own unapologetic character with parallels to the polarizing world that we find ourselves in today.” We Are Dancers “is a warning shot about the terrifying prospect of history repeating itself.

Set in 1933 Berlin, we meett Hansi Sturm, an anti-Nazi cabaret drag-artist, and his friends the day after the Reichstag fire. Hansi must decide whether to abandon his club or stay to face the Nazis his former lover has told him will come there to seek revenge.

Hansi worked at the Eldorado Club in Berlin in the late 1920s. When Hitler and the Nazis came to power, Hansi (real name Hans) disappeared; what become of him is not knownThe film is based on fictionalized events of real history – a what if version of Hansi Sturm’s fate.

The story begins on the night of February 28, 1933. The Nazis had been in power for less than a month before a young Dutch communist called Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the Reichstag (Parliament) building as an act of protest against Hitler’s government. The entire building was destroyed  and the Nazis used this event as a pretext to implement far-reaching restrictions on the rights of citizens to assemble, have a free press, form political associations and criticise the government. It was also used as an opportunity to round up opponents of the regime and settle some old scores.

Marinus Van der Lubbe was tried and executed by the guillotine. With Nazism and other far-right beliefs taking  hold around the world again, it is important to try and talk about queer history in the context of defiance. Many of the gains that the LGBT community has won over the decades are fragile and they can easily be taken away. The threat  that the characters in “We are Dancers” faced in 1933 could easily be threats we all have to face in the coming years. It is important to know our history and be ready to confront prejudice. While the Hansi in our film is an  imagining of the real Hansi Sturm, he represents the sacrifices made by queer people throughout history.

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