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Germany, 1977 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Martin is a homosexual, sentenced to two years in jail for seduction of a minor. It is apparent to him that the case would never have come to trial had the relationship involved not been a homosexual one. The inhuman daily routine of the jail is relieved when a liberal prison warden agrees to an experiment, whereby the prisoners will write and direct a play, 'Hopeless'. The sixteen year old son of one of the guards, Thomas, is brought in to play the leading role. Attracted to each other, Thomas manages to slip one night into Martin's cell. Their relationship continues after Martin is released, and Thomas runs away from home to live with him.

The two face the inevitable social pressures as they travel around in Switzerland and West Germany, unable to settle anywhere. The authorities finally catch up with Thomas, and put him in a reform school. Here, he is alarmingly demoralised, as his homosexuality sets him apart from the other inmates and invites his humiliation by the instructors. Martin, who is now a successful actor, helps Thomas to escape, but the boy's condition deteriorates still further. After an attempt at suicide, Thomas is sent to a psychiatric hospital.

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