Samuel Clowes-Huneke’s decades-spanning, groundbreaking history of gay liberation in East Germany and West Germany challenges conventional assumptions about dictatorships and democracies.
In the virulently anti-Communist and homophobic climate of the postwar era many feared any association between the emerging lesbian and gay cause and Communism.
In Jia Zhangke's documentary, I Wish I Knew, many discuss the pivotal year of 1949, the year the Chinese Communist Party officially took over China, reaching Shanghai. It was also the year my mother, putting a finger in the wind, left China with my sister.
The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Queer film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.
In Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's film the protagonist is an inhabitant too estranged from his country to belong, a tourist too familiar with his environment to experience the passing joy of surprise.
As a history of ideas, this work is especially good at mapping the Vienna Circle's fascinating afterlife in the English-speaking countries where many prominent thinkers landed and flourished in the 20th century.
Vladimir Lenin's life, his short tenure in power, and the subsequent path taken by the Soviet Union will always be a rich if sombre source of speculation in the history of possibility. Sebestyen's humane biography brings additional clarity to the matter.