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Fassbinder and Costa-Gavras both wanted to film Martin Sherman's 1979 play about gay persecution under the Nazis, but it was theatre director Mathias who finally got it on screen. In this visually daring adaptation a ruined power station on the Clyde stands in for '30s Berlin, and Dachau is represented by a disused cement factory outside Tring. Owen and Bluteau are the gay men, Max and Horst, who trace a line between these points. Leaving the decadent nightlife over which Jagger's club owner, Greta, holds court, the two eventually meet in line at the concentration camp. Horst wears the homosexual's pink triangle and Max has been trying to pass as a Jew. That way, he reckons, he's not quite the lowest of the low. Although Sherman's ranking of the gays as even more oppressed than the Jewish prisoners seems unnecessary, the anger behind his screenplay is never in doubt. Life on the run keeps the first half moving, but it's hard to connect with the performers when Owen and Bluteau are dwarfed by the post-industrial surroundings.

Release details

Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sean Mathias
Screenwriter: Martin Sherman
Cast: Lothaire Bluteau
Clive Owen
Brian Webber
Ian McKellen
Mick Jagger
Jude Law
Suzanne Bertish
Rupert Graves
Charlie Watts
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