amorous, antiquated, audacious

Stories of lesbian (in)visibility in Vienna in the 50s and 60s
Austria 2009, 64min, color and b/w

A film by Katharina Lampert and Cordula Thym with Rosmarin Frauendorfer, Ursula Hacker, Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel

A taboo.
A historical and visual void.
A queer documentary from Austria (!).

The city was rather gray and antiquated back in the old days. If there was any scene at all, it was a gay men’s scene. The so-called "sub" scene was not particularly inviting. During the frequent police raids lesbians and gay men had to be seated nicely at tables – "normal" and "inconspicuous." Lesbian life took place in private – behind closed doors.  Unlike in other countries, there is very little imagery documenting it in Austria. This visual gap still exists today with the exception of an interruption in the well-documented 70s, during which the lesbian movement was quite active politically and in the media, although "lesbians are always and everywhere."

Katharina Lampert and Cordula Thym's ambitious film project deals with the lives and networks of lesbians in Vienna in the 1950s and 60s. amorous, antiquated, audacious is based on interviews with three witnesses to history, who were active in the lesbian scene during that period. In an eloquent, entertaining, and refreshingly ironic manner, they talk about what it was like to realize that they were "different" in their youth and find their own identity despite society's impediments and a lack of positive lesbian role models.

"I have worn a few too many lacy blouses in my life, although I am not at all the type."

(Rosmarin Frauendorfer in original sound)

Rosmarin Frauendorfer, actress and ORF elocution trainer, was born in 1942 in Vienna and raised there. She had a "slow, stuttering coming out" in Germany at the age of 24. In an effort to avoid the cliché from the "other side" at all costs (i.e. looking like a "man"), Rosmarin "wore quite a few lacy blouses," although she was "not at all the type." Ursula Hacker, born in 1946 and raised in Vienna's Karl Marx Hof, a municipal tenement complex, was in love with her teacher when she was in school.  amorous, antiquated, audacious also raises the issue of many lesbians' "straight past." Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel's boyfriend was hardly overjoyed when his suggestion that they visit a gay bar was accepted and led to his girlfriend's first kiss with a woman, her coming out, and the end of their relationship.

During their five years of research, the filmmakers received numerous rejections to interview requests. It is a fact that lesbians are present in politics, business, schools, and the arts. Nevertheless, there is still a tendency toward invisibility in society today. amorous, antiquated, audacious is an important film that tries to change this.