The finest depiction of repressed homosexuality in the military since BEAU TRAVAIL, David Wagner’s award-winning feature was inspired by a notorious Austrian military trainer, infamous for his questionable code of conduct. Merciless in his punishments, Sergeant Major Eismayer singles out Falak due to his Bosnian heritage and open homosexuality. Eismayer enjoys an outwardly steady home life; but shaken by the arrival of the new recruit, his own suppressed sexuality becomes an increasing struggle.
Wagner’s dynamic depiction of a military institution lifts this debut well above the confines of a standard coming out journey. Driving it is a soulful performance from Gerald Liebmann as the title character. EISMAYER premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2022, where it was awarded Grand Prize as the best film of International Critics’ Week; the jury praised it as “a surprisingly genuine and calm reflection on … our feelings [and] their connection to our bodies.”