Der Kreis

Founded in the early 1940s, the network around the magazine 'Der Kreis' ('The Circle') was the only gay organisation to survive the Nazi regime. It blossomed during the post-war years into an internationally renowned underground club. Legendary masked balls at the Theater am Neumarkt in Zurich provided 800 visitors from all over Europe with a secret and safe space to act out their 'otherness' in a self-determined way. It is there that timid teacher Ernst Ostertag falls in love with drag star Röbi Rapp. Ernst searches for a way to fight for his gayness to be accepted as normal outside the boundaries of 'The Circle' network without losing his employment as a teacher. Röbi champions the joint fruition of their love. Following a murder in the gay community, violent repression against gay people also endangers 'The Circle' network. Stefan Haupt's new film uncovers the fascinating universe of one of the first gay liberation communities. Enriched by impressive conversational records with Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, the film depicts a decades-long love story – made taboo by society – and reveals the couple's inspiring self-knowledge and courage.


  • Runtime

    102' min
  • Country

  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    Stefan Haupt
  • Cast

    Marianne Sägebrecht, Anatole Taubman, Matthias Hungerbühler, Sven Schelker, Antoine Monot Jr.
  • Production Company

    Contrast Film Zürich
  • Berlinale Section

  • Berlinale Category

    Documentary Film
  • Teddy Award Winner

    Best Documentary/ Essay Film

Biography Stefan Haupt

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1961, he studied at the Schauspielakademie Zürich where he took a degree in theatre and education. A director and freelance filmmaker since 1989, he founded Fontana Film production company in Zurich in 1998. His feature film debut UTOPIA BLUES won awards including the Zurich and the Swiss Film Prizes. His 2003 documentary ELISABETH KÜBLER- ROSS is still today the most successful Swiss documentary. Between 2008 and 2010 he was president of the Swiss Filmmakers’ Association and he has been a member of the board of trustees for the SWISS FILMS Foundation since 2007.

Filmography Stefan Haupt

1998 I’m Just a Simple Person | 2001 Increschantüm (Heimweh) | 2001 Utopia Blues | 2003 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Dem Tod ins Gesicht sehen | 2003 Moritz | 2004 Downtown Switzerland | 2006 Ein Lied für Argyris | 2010 How About Love | 2012 Sagrada | 2014 Der Kreis