ElDorado, a nightspot that gives the new Netflix documentary its name, was an LGBTQ haven during Germany’s Weimar Republic, popular among Berlin’s trans population. It was also, as the film’s subtitle puts: Everything the Nazis Hate.
The doc is a broader story about being gay in Nazi Germany. It’s a tale of wild nights, forbidden relationships, and, eventually, horrible consequences, a decadent scene leading to a nightmare conclusion.
The film makes its greatest impact through the individual stories weaved throughout the bigger picture, the internal conflicts, the passions shared, the lives destroyed. Some of the main characters are well-known, like Gottfried von Cramm the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1937, and Magnus Hirschfeld a groundbreaking sexologist, both gay and Jewish and therefore a prime target of Nazi.
ElDorado is one of those documentaries that gives texture and context, faces and voices, to a well-chronicled period and set of circumstances. It does so with style, sensitivity, and a respect for the history it examines.
Here we experience the decadence that thrived before the fall, at a hideaway for those whose differences would soon mark them for prison, exile or, in many cases, death (it is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 gay people died in the concentration camps).
Watch the trailer below: