DESIRE WILL SET YOU FREE film shows Berlins Underground

A unique and honest glimpse into life in contemporary Berlin’s multifaceted underground.

Desire Will Set You Free is a feature-length narrative film that explores artistic and marginalized life in Berlin with an often critical, and sometimes humorous (but never mocking) eye. Based on a true story, and at times traveling into the realm of docufiction, the plot follows the relationship of an American writer of Israeli/Palestinian descent decent and a Russian aspiring artist working as a hustler, offering access to the city’s vibrant queer and underground scenes while examining the differences between expatriate and refugee life. Our characters travel through Berlin’s layered history and unique subcultural landscape; on their adventures they discover influences and remnants of the Weimar Republic, WWII, the Bowie years, and punk.


The film features performances by the queen of punk Nina Hagen, electro star Peaches, Brooklyn’s Blood Orange, German sensation Rummelsnuff, rapper Sookee, Einstürzende Neubauten’s Jochen Arbeit;  and Wolfgang Müller, plus cast members Amber Benson (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame), German film legend Rosa Von Praunheim, artists Eva & Adele, photographer Miron Zownir, as well as newcomers Tim-Fabian Hoffman (Sasha), Chloé Griffin (Cathrine) and the director himself, Yony Leyser (Ezra).


This is the second feature film by Yony Leyser. His previous, the critically acclaimed documentary William S. Burroughs: A Man Within was also funded partially through Kickstarter. A Man Within screened at over 60 international film festivals, was released theatrically in 5 countries, aired on over 15 television stations, and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from the likes of New York Times and Variety, who stated: “Docu does real justice to the Beat writer, gun nut and literary icon … Like his subject, Leyser strives to disengage from the conventional, while still being lucid. He succeeds admirably.” More information at


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