Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Einstein of Sex (Der Einstein des Sex)

Reprinted courtesy of Sean C. At the Movies

Before there was Alfred Kinsey, there was Magnus Hirshfeld. Magnus Hirshfeld (1868 - 1935) was the founder of the Institute for Sexual Research, a facility dedicated to medical assistance and education on all matters related to human sexuality. The Institute was subject to much criticism and eventually was destroyed by the Nazi war machine.

The Einstein of Sex (Der Einstein des Sex) tells the tale of Hirshfeld from his childhood, early medical career, founding of the Institute, and his eventual exile in Paris in hiding from the Nazi concentration camps. Much like his successor Kinsey, Hirshfeld is portrayed as a man obsessed with his work and extremely socially awkward. One wonders if it is the men or the work that causes this poor combination of personality traits.

Like most biopics, this film is only a brief insight into the man and his work. His contribution to the study of sexuality is inconceivable. His personal life a complicated one. This film portrays a man as human as you or I who just happened to have a permanent place in history.

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