Coming Out

Film
Hailed as the first East German film to deal with homosexuality, this mixes the romantic yearning, melodrama and self-disgust typical of ground-breaking gay work. The plot is reminiscent of Nighthawks and Taxi zum Klo: respected schoolteacher leads double life, butch by day, cruising the clubs by night. Philipp (Freihof) makes an enthusiastic stab at heterosexuality with a female colleague (Manzel), only to find himself accidentally wandering into a louche bar full of drag queens that looks like an out-take from Cabaret. One night of happiness in the arms of another young man (Kummer) ensues, before fate conspires to separate them and leave Philipp facing loneliness, persecution and alcoholism. So far, so miserable. But the redeeming feature, along with a wonderfully open performance from Freihof, is that, given the social climate of East Germany, this is anything but an exercise in self-pity: when the characters speak of loneliness and persecution, they are not posturing.

By: RS

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