Gardenia – Before the Last Curtain Falls

The documentary “Gardenia – Before the Last Curtain Falls” tells the story of great love, bitter disappointments and self-doubts – but most of all of courage. The courage to take risks, try something new and be yourself – no matter what age. The film dives deeply into the exceptional and heart-warming stories of a group of transsexuals and drag queens in their sixties and seventies, who summon up their bravery to take to the stage one last time. For two years they have been touring in five continents, basking in the success of a spectacular show called “Gardenia”, directed by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke. Now, as the show comes to a close, the glamorous aging performers must leave the limelight and go home to the quiet lives they left behind.

News

  • 09/2014 - MADIBA and GARDENIA at VIFF 2014

    We are delighted that two of our productions will be shown at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival: our coproduction [...]

    We are delighted that two of our productions will be shown at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival: our coproduction with Born Free Media (South Africa) "Nelson Mandela: the myth & me" by director Khalo Matabane and the German-Belgian coproduction "Before the Last Curtain Falls" by Thomas Wallner. VIFF is among the five largest film festivals in North America and 'designed for the benefit of people who love films and people who make them'.

    Programme of VIFF 2014
    Nelson Mandela: the myth & me
    Before the Last Curtain Falls


  • 06/2014 - Four productions and one world premiere at Lubuskie Film Summer

    We are very happy to announce that four of our productions will be screened at Lubuskie Film Summer in Lagow, [...]

    We are very happy to announce that four of our productions will be screened at Lubuskie Film Summer in Lagow, Poland. "Pretty Ugly" will have its world premiere, in the presence of director Jan Tenhaven. "Before the Last Curtain Falls" will take part in the competition and "Midsummer Night's Tango" and "Sunday Warriors" were accepted for the Panorama Set. This year's Lubuskie Film Summer will already be the 43rd edition of the festival and offers screenings of international productions and discussion forums with filmmakers from all over the world.

    Lubuskie Film Summer
    Pretty Ugly on Facebook
    Before the Last Curtain Falls on Facebook
    Midsummer Night's Tango on Facebook
    Sunday Warriors on Facebook


  • 06/2014 - Christian Beetz at Sheffield Doc/Fest and Sunny Side Of The Doc

    Producer Christian Beetz on tour: on 10th of June you can meet him at Sheffield Doc/Fest. First he will talk [...]

    Producer Christian Beetz on tour: on 10th of June you can meet him at Sheffield Doc/Fest. First he will talk about "How to Co-Produce with Germany. Possibilities to Work with Film Funds, Broadcasters and Producers" on the roundtable at 10 am. He will then attend the session "Co-Producing in South-America", moderated by producer Bettina Walter at 12 am. On June 08 and 11, Sheffield Doc/Fest will screen our documentary "Nelson Mandela: the myth & me". The film will be at the videotheque afterwards, as well as our documentary "Before the Last Curtail Falls". On 24th of June he will pitch our project MALI BLUES at Sunny Side Of The Docs. The Arts & Culture session will take place in the Agora from 2:30 pm to 4 pm. Director Lutz Gregor travels through the West African country talking to musicians about the constant threat by the Sharia and their fight for music as a human right.

    Sheffield Doc/Fest Screening Date
    Sheffield Doc/Fest Roundtable
    Sheffield Doc/Fest Session "Co-Producing in South-America"
    Sunny Side
    Nelson Mandela: the myth & me on Facebook
    Before the Last Curtain Falls on Facebook
    Mali Blues on Facebook


Press Echo

  • "'Before the Last Curtain Falls' is an endearing recollection of life as an outsider, a sincere exploration of queer identity, and a stunning celebration of the communion we achieve in art."

    Indiewire.com on May 8, 2014


Gardenia – Before the Last Curtain Falls

Gardenia – Before the Last Curtain Falls is a film that explores the lives of six aging and highly unique transsexuals and drag queens in their sixties and seventies, through the prism of a great dance, theatre, cabaret and music show called “Gardenia”. It was evolved in collaboration with the directors Alain Platel, one of Europe’s greatest contemporary choreographers, and Frank Van Laecke.

What was supposed to be a limited run in some selected theatres unexpectedly became a huge international success. The performers toured for more than two years in five continents and over 60 cities. Now that the show is coming to a close and the artists are coming home it is their time of introspection, of reevaluation of choices made, of lives lived and possible futures. The cast has been through it all. They’ve been at the bottom, have clawed themselves to the top only to fall again. They have been shunned and embraced, worked as performers and prostitutes, undergone sex changes, have experienced every shade of love, loss and humiliation and joy imaginable in their long and complicated lives.

We are delving deeply into the lives of our protagonists, peeling away the many layers of protection, illusion and self-delusion to create a raw but ultimately warm human portrait of a group of people, who seemingly effortlessly navigate the twilight zone between being male and being female and are now entering the last chapter of their lives.  For the cast, who thought that their best days lay behind them “Gardenia” became the highlight of their lives.

Based on the play "Gardenia" by
Vanessa Van Durme (Concept)
Alain Platel, Frank Van Laecke (Director)
Script: Thomas Wallner, Eva Küpper
Director: Thomas Wallner
Cinematography: Axel Schneppat
Editor: Manfred Becker
Sound Engineer: Henk Rabau
Line Producer: Kathrin Isberner
Production assistant: Nick Pastucha
Commissioning editor ZDF/arte: Wolfgang Bergmann
Commissioning editors Canvas: Marc Coenen, Reinhilde Weyns, Ingrid Lanckmans
Producer: Kerstin Meyer-Beetz
Executive producer: Christian Beetz

Coproduction

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Sponsors

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  • Before the Last Curtain Falls - World Premiere

    Bloor Hot Docs Cinema - Toronto
    28 April 2014 at 8:30 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 - Hot Docs Film Festival - Toronto
    29 April 2014 at 4:00 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 - Hot Docs Film Festival - Toronto
    02 May 2014 at 12:30 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    DOCVILLE - Soetezaal - Leuven
    04 May 2014 at 7:30 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    Rio 1 - DOK.fest - Munich
    08 May 2014 at 8:30 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    DOCVILLE - Labozaal - Leuven
    09 May 2014 at 3:00 pm

  • Before the Last Curtain Falls

    Filmmuseum - DOK.fest - Munich
    10 May 2014 at 10:00 pm