A documentary film by Magnus Gertten about love against all odds

During World War 2, in the middle of the horrors of the war camps, Nelly & Nadine begin their life-long journey. On Christmas Eve the Belgian prisoner and opera singer Nelly Mousset-Vos had been asked to sing Christmas carols in one of the French populated Ravensbrück barracks. After a couple of songs, a voice calls out from the dark: “Sing something from Madame Butterfly!”.

Nelly hesitates, but then she sings “Un bel di vedremo”, an aria about the waiting for a loved one. Afterwards the woman who requested the song from Madame Butterfly emerges from the darkness. She kisses Nelly and says: “The Good Lord has been kind to us”. Her name is Nadine Hwang and in this moment Nelly and Nadine become a couple, spending as much time together as possible.

But after two moths they are separated when Nelly is transferred to a different camp. After being liberated towards the end of the war, they manage to reunite and decide to start building a life together. For many years Nelly and Nadine’s lifelong relationship was kept a secret, even to some of their closest family.

Now Nelly’s grandchild, Sylvie, has decided to open Nelly and Nadine’s unseen personal archives and uncover their remarkable story. Among the photos, love letters and film reels in the archive, there is also a diary written by Nelly. In these previously unpublished personal notes, she tells her life story including details about being in love in the middle of the camp horrors, the complicated reunification with Nadine after the war, deciding to move to Venezuela so they could live freely and coming back to Europe in the early 70’s to spend their last years in Brussels.

Nelly & Nadine is a remarkable story about war sufferings, mysteries, love against all odds, the healing power of music, well kept secrets, and the complicated family stories of concentration camp survivors, still trying to deal with the ghosts of the past.

This film exemplifies the necessity of queer history and queer collective memory of World War II while providing long-needed recognition of the forgotten victims and survivors of the Holocaust. It speaks about unmentioned lesbian biographies. Teddy Award Jury, Berlinale

About the director

Magnus Gertten is a director and producer from Malmö, Sweden. He has a background as a TV and radio journalist, working several years for the Swedish National Radio and the Swedish Television, SVT. He runs the production company Auto Images together with producer Lennart Ström. Since 1998 he has directed a large number of documentaries co-produced with SVT, many of which have been shown internationally at film festivals and on television networks.

Among Magnus Gertten’s highlighted films are Get Busy (2004), Rolling Like a Stone (2005) and Long Distance Love (2009) , which won Best Documentary at Hamptons IFF in 2009, and Harbour of Hope (2012), which garnered a Special Jury Mention at the Krakow Documentary Festival in 2012. His film Every Face Has a Name (2014) won awards internationally and screened at IDFA 2015 in the Best of Fest section. His latest film Becoming Zlatan (2015), co-directed with his brother Fredrik Gertten, had its world premiered at IDFA in 2015. Magnus Gertten is also a producer and works with international co-productions, together with his producer colleague Lennart Ström. The Danish co-production Armadillo was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. The Finnish co-production The Punk Syndrome won a Prix Europa for Best European TV Documentary in 2013.


Directed by Magnus Gertten
Editor - Jesper Osmund & Phil Jandal
Dop - Caroline Troedsson
Music - Marthe Belsvik Stavrum

Awards & festivals

Berlinale, Berlin International Film Festival (D) - Teddy Jury Award & Nominated: The Berlinale Documentary Award
FIFDH Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (CH)
Tempo Documentary Festival (SE) - Tempo Documentary Award
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (GR)
CPH:DOX Documentary Film Festival (DK)
Docville Intl. Documentary Film Festival (B)
Movies that Matter (NL)
Pink Apple Film Festival (CH) & Frauenfeld (CH) - Audience Award for Best Documentary
CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival, Linz (AT)
Hot Docs, Toronto (CA)
Real Lovers, Lovers Film Festival (IT) - Torino Pride Award
Minneapolis-St. Paul Intl. Film Festival (US)
Spectrum Film Festival (US)
Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival (PL)
DocsBarcelona (ES)
Blue Mountain Film Festival, Ontario (CA)
Mix Mexico (MX) - Mariposa Award for Best Film in the 26th Festival Mix: Cine y Diversidad Sexual
Skjaldborg, Iceland
Doc Edge (NZ) - Best Festival Category: Being Oneself Award
Cinepride Nantes, (FR)
Festival du Film de Cabourg (FR) - The Grand Prize & The Youth Prize
Frameline (US)
Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK)
La Berlinale à Paris(FR)
Documentarist (TU)
Outfest (US)
TARTUFF, Estonia 
Melbourne Intl. Film Festival (AU)
Lilla Filmfestivalen i Båstad, Båstad (SE)
Way Out West (SE)
Edinburgh International Film Festival (UK)
MakeDox, North Macedonia (MK)
The Norwegian Intl. Film Festival Haugesund (NO)
EIDF, Korea - Grand Prix in The Global Competition
Oslo Pix Filmfestival (NO)
fArad (RO)

Production details

Duration: 92’
Co-produced with Auto Images (SE), UpNorth Film (NO)
In collaboration with ADV Productions
Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)
With the support of the Tax Shelter
System of the Belgian Federal Government

Language: English, French, Swedish, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Dutch, French