Leontine Sagan's 1931 lesbian classic Madchen in Uniform
is a gem of Weimar cinema that remained virtually unknown outside of film studies' circles for decades. When Manuela's parents send her to an authoritarian Prussian boarding school, she feels alienated and confined by the militaristic rules and regulations. Only her budding crush on the most tender and beautiful of her teachers makes her life bearable. Initially the school authorities regards this school-girl crush lightly--all of Maneula's classmate adore Fraulein too--yet things become problematic when it seems that these unorthodox affections might be mutual. Based on a poem by sapphic writer Christa Winsloe, this was an unusually frank picture, which fell foul of censors for decades after its initial release. --Tricia Tuttle
Leontine Sagan's early talkie has been prized for its innovative use of sound, as a prime example of Weimar Expressionism, and, most of all, as a cult lesbian classic. Young Manuela (Hertha Thiele) responds to the harsh regime in her all-girl Prussian boarding school by developing a deep attachment to her teacher, Fräulein von Bernburg (Dorothea Wieck). The headmistress (Emilia Unda) attempts to nip the relationship in the bud, but Manuela's fellow students rally to her support.