Sex in Chains (Geschlecht in Fesseln)

Live musical accompaniment by Philip Carli


Castro Theatre Sat, Dec 2, 2017 9:15 PM
$17 general / $15 member — no service charge!
Film Info
Director:Wilhelm Dieterle
Cast:Wilhelm Dieterle
Mary Johnson
Gunnar Tolnaes
Paul Henckels
Total Run Time:92 min.


William Dieterle, who would go on to direct Hollywood classics like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Portrait of Jennie, started his career as actor/director Wilhelm Dieterle in Germany. Despite its lurid English translation, Sex in Chains is actually a message film about the human cost of imprisonment—for the imprisoned and society—that argues for prison reform. Dieterle himself plays the protagonist Franz Sommer, in jail for involuntary manslaughter, who turns to his cellmate for companionship. The film’s depiction of prison homosexuality was far ahead of its time, and so bold as to acknowledge that it could even lead to love.

35mm print source: Deutsche Kinemathek

Co-presented by Berlin & Beyond Film Festival
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Additional Information

Accompanied by Philip Carli

Philip Carli brings both prodigious musical talent and a committed scholarly outlook to his lifelong passion for the music and culture of the turn of the last century. He discovered silent film at the age of five and began his accompaniment career at thirteen, with a performance for Lon Chaney’s 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While at college he programmed and accompanied an annual series of silent films, and also organized and conducted a 50-piece student orchestra using 19th-century performance practice. Since then, he has continued his studies of the film, music and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, earning a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has at the same time toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe, performing on keyboard and with orchestra at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is the staff accompanist for the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and performs annually at several film festivals in the United States as well as at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy.