The Sisters (die Schwestern) – (Germany, USA, Uruguay, 2009)

Surorile eternei indulgenţe (The Sisters from Berlin, San Francisco, Montevideo)

**Un film documentar în germană, engleză, spaniolă cu subtitrare în engleză

The_Sisters_of_Perpetual_Indulgence folsom street fair sisters of perpetual indulgence sisters-of-perpetual-indulgencex633With the appearance of bearded men in nuns costumes, collecting money for the needy members of the gay community, the Sistory of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence started in San Francisco at Easter 1979.
Since than, the Sisters have developed a wide network of Houses and Orders in numerous countries. They support gay, lesbian and transgender organisations as well as Aids projects.
The film makers Manfred Hoschek and Sigrid Smejkal tell the story of the Sisters and show problems and challenges in the sisters private lives.
Doing good in nuns habits the Sisters often face hostility, especially in Catholic countries, which is exemplified by a visit to Uruguay. The question as to why the Hermanitas and other orders still stick to the symbol of the nun will be answered by the members of the South American House.
The Sisters were the first to publish a worldwide Safer Sex pamphlet using plain language, practical advice and humour and the first to organise a charity event to raise Aids awareness when the illness was still widely unknown.
Their white faces symbolise death, contrasted with the bright colours of life and joy. Some of the Sisters are HIV+ themselves and by telling the story of the Sisters Hoschek and Smejkal are telling the story of Aids.


Since their inception in 1979 to combat HIV and AIDS, the infamous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have established missions all over the world, ministering to the masses with glitter, wit and charity. As German filmmakers explore the Sisterhood in Berlin, Montevideo in Uruguay and San Francisco, we find out that Sisters everywhere hand out happiness, along with a healthy dose of tongue-lashing.

From the Life Ball in Vienna to the organization’s archives in San Francisco to queer visibility in Montevideo, each group has their own goals and methods. As one German Sister remarks, it’s easier to hand out condoms when people know you aren’t hitting on them. In Uruguay, the Sisters face homophobia and persecution from a heavily Catholic public. There, the mask becomes more than a political statement — it’s a form of protection. As the Sisters gear up for a worldwide gathering in San Francisco for the group’s 30th anniversary, they reflect on what it means to be part of the movement, both personally and for their communities.

For anyone who has ever wondered why the Sisters wear white faces (or faces at all), this documentary lifts the veil for an inside look at the organization committed to safer sex, LGBT rights and performance art. As one original Sister says, “We’re not really anti-Catholic at all. We’re just anti-guilt, anti-hate, anti-negativity.” This exuberant documentary lives up to that commitment, sparkles and all.

DIRECTORS: Manfred Hoschek, Sigrid Smejkal


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