Die Konsequenz

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Die Konsequenz
Die Konsequenz.jpg
Directed byWolfgang Petersen
Produced byBernd Eichinger
Written byAlexander Ziegler and Wolfgang Petersen
StarringJürgen Prochnow

Ernst Hannawald
Walo Lüönd
Edith Volkmann
Erwin Kohlund
Hans Irle
Erwin Parker
Alexander Ziegler
Werner Schwuchow
Hans-Michael Rehberg
Elisabeth Fricker
Hans Putz
Wolf Gaudlitz
Thomas Haerin
Carsten Neumann
Franz Kollasch
Alexis von Hagemeister
Jan Groth
Gerold Nölli

Franz Stiefel
Music byNils Sustrate
CinematographyJörg-Michael Baldenius
Edited byJohannes Nikel
Release date
December 2, 1977 (1977-12-02)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryWest Germany

Die Konsequenz (The Consequence) is a West German film from 1977. It is an adaptation of the 1975 autobiographical novel with the same name by Swiss author Alexander Ziegler and directed by Wolfgang Petersen.


Gay actor Martin Kurath (Prochnow) who is in prison develops a friendship with Thomas Manzoni (Hannawald), the 15-year-old son of the prison warden (Lüönd). The two fall in love and they both yearn for Kurath's release. This triggers intense indignation in their surroundings. After Kurath is released a year later, Thomas accompanied by Kurath, tells his parents he is a homosexual. His father tells him to leave and never return. Kurath and Thomas move in together and Thomas enrolls in school. Thomas' father, however, then has him arrested and condemned to a brutal reformatory. Kurath obtains a fake passport and poses as a psychology doctoral candidate and helps Thomas escape with him to Germany. They are betrayed by a German homosexual friend of Kurath's who insists, in Kurath's absence, that Thomas become his lover in order to obtain a German residency permit. Thomas does so, but then refuses to sleep with the betrayer, is kicked out and prostitutes himself. Broken by these experiences, he voluntarily returns to the reformatory. When he reaches 21 and is released, he is so psychologically damaged that, despite reunion with Kurath, he attempts suicide and is committed to a psychiatric hospital. He escapes and the film ends with a TV announcement that the police are looking for him and that the public should, if approaching him, treat him gently, as he is very depressed and confused.

Literary original[edit]

The novel Die Konsequenz, which reads like the diary of Martin Kurath, is set in 1974. The Swiss Alexander Ziegler processed his personal experiences in the book. He himself served two and a half years in prison for "seducing an innocent underaged person to unnatural sexual acts".

Film production[edit]

Alexander Ziegler contributed personally in the collaboration of Bernd Eichinger's 1977 sensitive adaptation of the novel and with director Wolfgang Petersen. Die Konsequenz was made-for-television and filmed in black and white on 16 mm film. The soundtrack is composed by Nils Sustrate.

In March 2008, the film was released on DVD as part of a complete works edition of director Wolfgang Petersen's films (size: 22 DVDs).


The original version of the film received a Wertvoll (i.e. "recommended") quality award in the German Filmprädikat rating scheme, but was censored due to its perceived incendiary content in the first television broadcast on ARD on November 8, 1977, and regional affiliate Bayerischer Rundfunk refused to relay the transmission signal.[1]

The novel and film had a pivotal role in West Germany in starting a dialogue on the topic of homosexuality, a role analogous to that played by the works of Roger Peyrefitte in France.[2]


Despite somewhat dramatic decorations [...] it [the story] is, above all, a natural love story in black and white – one of the most private and credible to have been seen on the screen in a long time.



  • Alexander Ziegler: Die Konsequenz. ISBN 3-596-23407-7, Fischer-TB 3407, Frankfurt am Main, 1978
  • Wolfgang Petersen and Ulrich Greiwe (editors): Die Resonanz. Briefe und Dokumente zum Film "Die Konsequenz" ISBN 3-596-23423-9, Fischer-TB 3423, Frankfurt am Main, 1980


  1. ^ "Presse über den Film "Die Konsequenz"" (in German). www.deutsches-filmhaus.de. August 24, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ "En Allemagne, un rôle analogue revint au roman d’Alexander Ziegler, Die Konsequenz (1975), porté à l’écran et diffusé en novembre 1977. Le film, bien que partiellement censuré – et non diffusé par la télévision bavaroise – eut un écho retentissant, fit de l’homosexualité un sujet de société et offrit à des milliers d’individus l’occasion de rompre le silence. Certes, ce fut la télévision qui permit de toucher des millions d’Allemands et de Français mais dans les deux cas, ce fut la finesse littéraire de deux écrivains, Roger Peyrefitte et Alexander Ziegler, qui fit vibrer la corde sensible des téléspectateurs." Benoît PIVERT, "Homosexualité(s) et littérature: Appel à contribution" in CAHIERS DE LA RAL,M nº 10[1] Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Der Spiegel, November 7, 1977, quoted in: Scheugl, Hans Sexualität und Neurose im Film. Die Kinomythen von Griffith bis Warhol. - Approved, unabridged paperback edition - Heyne, Munich (1978) (Heyne-Buch; 7074), ISBN 3-453-00899-5, p. 211

External links[edit]