Daddy’s queer secret –

“Anima” begins with a moment between reality and fantasy. Director and protagonist Uli Decker visits a fortune teller who gives her a message: she must go home and accept her inheritance. Home is a village in Bavaria. We learn that the father died and the mother told the two daughters on her deathbed that the father had secretly dressed in women’s clothes all his life. How do you handle such knowledge when you can no longer talk about it together?

The secret legacy contains boxes of the father’s high-heeled shoes, his wig, make-up and clothes. In diary entries, Uli comes closer to her father’s thoughts and feelings for the first time after she had a strained relationship with him during his lifetime. As she now finds out, perhaps it was their similarities that unsettled her father. Eventually, she wanted to be an adventurer herself and wear a beard, because it seemed that only people with beards got to experience great things. In his father’s notes, Decker also found answers to the question of whether the secret should continue to be kept and whether transvestites should be kept secret (see interview with Uli Decker: “Family secrets are everywhere”).

Difficult subjects, made accessible

Poster for the movie: “Anima – Min fars tøj” will be released in cinemas on October 20, 2022

Through conversations with the parents’ closest family members and friends, through photos and looking for clues in history, the director and her team draw not only the picture of their family, but also the picture of a society where deviations from the norm are not. permitted; a society that has threatened queer people with rejection and exclusion for several generations.

Still, “Anima” is not a heavy film. Imaginative and humorous animations and sound collages provide an accessible tone that treats its own story with great care and warmth at the same time. The music is appropriately chosen; in one scene, father and daughter watch a television performance by trans singer Romy Haag together. A little bit of Cora Frost stays in your head long after the movie is over.

A documentary that opens up inner freedom

The special thing about the film is how it removes boundaries and creates a free space that invites you to be yourself. The father’s thinking, integrated as voice-over recordings of Catholic processions, contributes significantly to this. In the hidden there is room for conversations about transsexuality as well as about one’s own transvestization, which for the father brings freedom into one’s own male identity and means acceptance of one’s own anima.

A queer family story from the Bavarian province: Scene from “Anima” (Image: Flare Film / Siri Klug)

At the same time, the father captures impressively in his notes and nuances his relationship with the Catholic Church between confessions, clothing and his own interpretations of the Bible. These intelligent explorations of the past make the film compelling, watchable and enriching for both queer and non-queer audiences across generations.

At 92 minutes, the documentary has feature film length and in the first half there are a few long passages; At the same time, however, it remains relevant and clear with a high recognition value, also beyond the individual. “Anima” is deeply moving, especially in the second half, as we learn more about what moves, burdens and connects the individual family members. In the end, what remains present is not death, but the love for each other and the lust for life.

Info about the film

Anima – My father’s clothes. Documentary. D 2022. Director: Uli Decker. Cast: Cora Frost, Monika Decker, Cordula Decker, Christl Spiegel, Irmtraud Karlitschek, Herbert Karlitschek, Inge Schleussinger. Playing time: 94 minutes. Language: German original version. FSK 6 Rental: rental of color film. Cinema premiere: 20 October 2022

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