A Virus Knows No Morals

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A Virus Knows No Morals
A Virus Knows No Morals poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRosa von Praunheim
Screenplay byRosa von Praunheim
  • Rosa von Praunheim
  • Dieter Dicken
  • Maria Hasenaecker
CinematographyElfi Mikesch
Edited by
  • Rosa von Praunheim
  • Michael Schaefer
Music byMaran Gosov and the Bermudas.
Rosa von Praunheim Filmproduktion
Release date
16 January 1986
Running time
84 minutes
CountryWest Germany

A Virus Knows No Morals (German: Ein Virus kennt keine Moral) is a 1986 German film directed, written and produced by Rosa von Praunheim. It was one of the first feature films about AIDS worldwide.[1][2]

The film also received much attention abroad and is still screened today. A Virus Knows No Morals premiered at the 1986 Berlin International Film Festival and was also shown, for example, at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the same year.[3][4]


A group of contrasting characters share one thing in common: they all have to do with the subject of AIDS. There is Rüdiger, a conservative gay man who runs a sex sauna. Christian, a devout man who sacrificially cares for his partner who has AIDS. A curious blood doctor who tries to find out the origin of HIV and shares the positive test results with her patients, not without gloating. A reporter disguised as a man tries to spy on the gay scene ... Finally, the government decides to isolate the infected people on the island of Helgoland in order to contain the epidemic. But the outcasts put up a brave fight.


"A Virus Respects No Morals, a savage, imaginative, scattershot Brecht-like allegory set largely in a gay bath, became one of the earliest and most provocative attacks on the hypocrisy, ignorance, politics and economics surrounding the AIDS crisis." (Los Angeles Times)[1] The renowned critic Jerry Tallmer, founder of the Obie Award, wrote in the newspaper The Record: "[...] Rosa (originally Holger) von Praunheim, the brilliant, acerbic director of such breakthrough gay-revolutionist works as Silence = Death and A Virus Knows No Morals."[5]


  1. ^ a b "MOVIE REVIEW : Praunheim Trilogy Takes On the AIDS Crisis". Los Angeles Times. 25 July 1990. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  2. ^ Judell, B. (1996). "The work of Rosa von Praunheim: tackling AIDS in Germany through film". Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care. 2 (10): 42–44. PMID 11363912. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  3. ^ "Ein Virus kennt keine Moral". Mubi. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  4. ^ "16mm Film Screening - Rosa von Praunheim's 'A Virus Knows No Morals'". New York Public Library. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  5. ^ "Playing the fool". Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (University of California) - The Record, 1995. Retrieved 2022-04-20.


  • Murray, Raymond. Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Guide. TLA Publications, 1994, ISBN 978-1-880707-01-2

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