“Uferfrauen – Lesbian Life and Love in the GDR” tells the life stories of six lesbian women in the GDR – in the big city as well as in rural areas – and how they lived and loved in same-sex relationships. These six very different biographies are representative of untold lesbian history, ranging from intimate love stories to accounts of state repression. Shaped by socialism, how did these mothers, workers and warriors, often “invisible” lesbians, live? The film illustrates a not yet publicly discussed topic, thus exploring an intriguing aspect of German history.
“Uferfrauen – Lesbian Life and Love in the GDR” is not a film only for the LGBT scene but rather appeals to a wide audience. This documentary by Barbara Wallbraun shows that, despite their differences, the six portrayed women were all driven by an existential human need: the quest for personal happiness (in love). Beyond that Barbara Wallbraun wants to explore what it was like to grow up under socialism and its repercussions on the present-day life. This is intertwined with a cinematic portrayal of women’s role in the socialist system, giving the chance to debunk the image of emancipation which the GDR government promoted.
The film’s title “Uferfrauen – Lesbian Life and Love in the GDR” is metaphoric and conveys the women’s omnipresent feelings of the outsider’s loneliness, of homosexuality as a societal taboo and of coerced conformity in a repressive regime – a life on society’s (private) margins, always torn between taking the plunge into cold water or staying on the dry, safe shore.