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Synopsis: Available May 30th Only!

“Tom Kalin’s visually stunning, black and white feature film debut Swoon tells the well-known story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy Jewish college students who kidnapped and brutally murdered a 14-year old neighborhood boy in Chicago in 1924. Convinced of their intellectual superiority, Leopold and Loeb had set out to commit a “perfect crime,” but ended up instead arrested, tried, and sentenced to life in prison. Although this famous case inspired two earlier films, Alfred Hitchcock’s i>Rope (1948) and Richard Fleischer’s Compulsion (1959), it was Swoon that first brought to the screen a complex investigation of the discourses that not only informed the pathological act, but also constructed the murderous couple as pathological. Kalin’s film makes explicit both the homosexuality of its protagonists and the homophobia (and anti-semitism) of then contemporary criminal psychology. This stylish and politically provocative film remains…one of the best examples of the “New Queer Cinema,” and of US independent filmmaking in the ‘90s” (Marc Siegel).

Run Time

93 minutes


Daniel Schlachet
Craig Chester
Ron Vawter
Michael Kirby

Directed by

Tom Kalin

Executive Producer

James Schamus
Lauren Zalaznick

Produced by

Christine Vachon

Edited by

Tom Kalin

Director's Statement

I think back on that time, when I made Swoon and how completely dire it seemed on so many levels — that we were in the later part of the 20th century and sodomy was being made illegal. I had gone to Washington to the protests after the supreme court ruled that sodomy was illegal and there was this consciousness of “putting the bedroom in the courtroom.” So I was essentially an American feeling like the Supreme Court of the United States says that I fundamentally did not have the right to have sex in a private bedroom if I lived in the state of Georgia. It was just jaw-dropping. (Hyperallergic interview)

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