Swiss film “Prora” screening in Toronto at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival
Set in a deserted Nazi holiday camp the romantic teen film Prora tells the tale of friends Jan, 17, and Matthieu, 18, as they embark on a risky erotic game that puts their friendship at risk.
Swiss director and former gay activist Stéphane Riethauser captures the journey of self-exploration, an odyssey of male adolescence, making Prora a thrilling, tender story about love and friendship.
Built in the late 1930s by the Nazis on the Baltic Sea island of Rugen was meant to be a vacation spot for 20,000 people. Instead the island maze of buildings was used as a military hospital and refugee camp. In 1945 the Red Army overtook the complex turning it into a training camp for soldiers and officers. It was abandoned when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
Stéphane Riethauser was working on his script when she read about Prora. She knew quickly that the complex would be the perfect backdrop for her story of a French and German friendship whose first sexual experience together is challenged.
In an emailed press release Riethauser says, “I see Prora’s labyrinthine structure as a third lead character in the story. A vestige of the past, a witness of failed fascist and communist utopias, the complex reveals the tension between the boys and provides a stark contrast with the sensuous beauty of the adjacent Baltic Sea. A statement on the perils of normative heterosexism, Prora underscores the poisonous inflexibility of Jan and Matthieu’s inherited social landscape.”
Prora stars Tom Gramenz of Wiesbaden, Germany and Swen Gippa of Montreux, Switzerland. The film, directed by Swiss director and former gay activist Stéphane Riethauser, will be screened on Saturday 9th June 2012 at at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival as part of the spotlight on Switzerland. Prora was part of last May’s Short Film Corner of the 65th Cannes International Film Festival.