Official Filmposter (Illustration by Nadine Trautzsch)
A famous Austrian composer & a renowned African-American kink educator fall in love and start on a controversial journey towards radical self-determination that touches on matters of race, sexuality, politics & power relations. Some call them perverted, others revolutionary.
Georg Friedrich Haas and his wife Mollena Williams-Haas have been looking for the right partner for 40 years before they finally found each other on the dating website „OkCupid“. Their first date was wild, passionate, and seemingly promising, so the Austrian renowned composer and the American sex educator, author and performer decided to go steady. They started to live happily and openly in a BDSM relationship, as they publicly stated in an article in the New York Times: Mollena is his 24/7 “slave” and muse, Georg is her “master”.
But this is not the only reason they make a rather unusual couple. Mollena is a descendant of African slaves, Georg the child of Austrian Nazis. She grew up in poor conditions in New York, while he was raised on a mountain at 1000 meters above sea level in Montafon. She is African-American. He is a White European – a tense racial combination, considering he is her „master“. When they took the step into the public, they received recognition and approval, but also a lot of criticism. Many believed they were just planning a marketing stunt and insisted on a strict separation of work and private life, and even called them “perverts”. Critics questioned their morals and decisions: How can Georg call himself as a feminist if he wants to dominate his wife? How can a Black woman voluntarily accept such a submissive role?
The story is told without a narrator or any explicatory commentary. Instead friends, colleagues and critics, but especially the protagonists themselves get their say. They talk about their different origins and childhoods, their difficulties in self-acceptance, their live struggles and shame but also about their art, self-discovery and their journey towards radical self-expression.
THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT centers around the couple’s lives and their radical self-definition over the course of a year. During this year, Georg Friedrich Haas’s work „Release“ premieres at the opening of the grand Elbphilharmonie, the couple works together on Mollena Williams-Haas’s „Hyena,“ a piece of storytelling and music dealing with her difficult way towards sobriety. Furthermore, they make up for their lost honeymoon, and Donald Trump is elected president, which throws the couple into a crisis of fear and bewilderment. Georg believes to have left behind the fascism and the Nazis of his childhood when he started to live in the USA, while Mollena fears that this president will create more racial tensions and death. Other scenes include the couple’s everyday life like composing, eating and kinky activities.
THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT is a movie about the relationship of an African-American woman and a White European man, about BDSM and new music, about racism and sexuality, politics and power structures, prejudices and the distorted awareness of others. But THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT is also about self acceptance and partnership, dedication and passion, art and life, feminism and self-determination. And above all, it’s a movie about love.