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The Circle (2014)

Der Kreis (original title)
2:15 | Trailer
Zurich, 1956. The young teacher Ernst Ostertag falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment ... See full summary »


Stefan Haupt


Stefan Haupt (screenplay), Christian Felix (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthias Hungerbühler Matthias Hungerbühler ... Ernst Ostertag
Peter Jecklin Peter Jecklin ... Principal Dr. Max Sieber
Marie Leuenberger ... Fräulein Gabi Gerster
Stefan Witschi Stefan Witschi ... Rolf
Claudio Schenardi Claudio Schenardi ... Fredi
Anatole Taubman ... Felix Schupp
Sven Schelker ... Röbi Rapp
Ingo Ospelt ... Emil Lutz
Antoine Monot Jr. ... Gian
Matthias Meier Matthias Meier ... Jean-Martin
Harriet Hasse Harriet Hasse ... Frau Tobler
Kenneth Huber Kenneth Huber ... Waitress
Christoph Keller Christoph Keller ... Rent Boy
Stefano Wenk Stefano Wenk ... Barber Andre
Maja Stolle ... Sue the Barmaid


Zurich, 1956. The young teacher Ernst Ostertag falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality. Ernst becomes a member of the gay organization DER KREIS and lives through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love ain't a crime.


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site




Swiss German | German | French

Release Date:

23 October 2014 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Circle See more »

Filming Locations:

Zurich, Switzerland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Switzerland to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015. See more »


References Das Menschlein Matthias (1941) See more »


Die Seltsame
Music by Robby Frey
Lyrics by Peter Munk
Performed by Röbi Rapp and Oliver Fritz
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best of all 'historical' gay movies
10 June 2015 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

"The Circle" is a biopic unlike any other. It is the story of Ernst and Robi, two gay men who met in 1950's Zurich. Ernst was a teacher and Robi a cabaret artist who performed in drag. They became lovers and are still together today. In the film they are played by Matthias Hungerbuhler, (Ernst), and Sven Schelker, (Robi), but the real Ernst and Robi, now old men, also appear on camera, along with other real-life personalities from the period, talking about themselves and their lives together. They are wonderful people and are an inspiration to us all.

Of course, "The Circle" is a biopic of a different kind. The title refers both to the magazine they worked on as well as to the circle of gay men who had to live their lives in secret, not for fear of prosecution, (homosexuality was not illegal in Switzerland), but for fear of how they might be treated by the police and the State which was often just short of what it might have been under the Nazis, and once exposed they risked losing everything, not least their lives. At first the lack of laws prohibiting homosexuality meant that Zurich was something of a haven for gay men, not just from Switzerland, but also from Germany and other neighboring countries, but when homosexuals began to be murdered by rent boys, and the courts worked it so that the killer would become the victim and vice versa, things began to change for the worse.

Stefan Haupt's film is a tribute to what was fundamentally a gay rights movement long before anyone coined the phrase, at times funny and often very sad, (not everyone's life had a happy ending), but ultimately hugely uplifting, and it is beautifully made. Indeed, as 'historical' gay films go this is one of the best and it shouldn't be missed.

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