A must-see for any GLBTQ person or cultural historian
This movie is a kind of fictionalized documentary or perhaps it would be better to call it a cinematic essay. In either case, the movie follows the evolution of a young man named Daniel who arrives in Berlin in a rather "unspoiled" state and gradually trades in both his shyness and his sincerity to better feed his escalating appetite for excitement in the big-city gay scene. As we follow Daniel's escapades, he is transformed into a jaded hedonist caught in his addiction to ever more exotic (read: campy) clothing and ever more depersonalized sexual experiences.
Scenes from Daniel's life and the various milieus he frequents are accompanied by voiceovers that are sometimes narrations, and that sometimes represent dialogue. There is no synch sound and the movie never even tries to pretend that the sound was recorded together with the picture. Thus, this film is determinedly "low-fi" and has a crude and vibrant aesthetic that is well attuned to the subject matter it covers.
For most of the movie, the voiceovers are highly astringent -- steeped in cynicism, bitterness and melancholy. Seen from today's perspective after the tremendous cultural evolution that has occurred since 1971 with respect to gays and their acceptance in society this film often looks and sounds very dated indeed, but not so dated as many viewers might prefer to think. Many of the topics covered here with scathing honesty -- the idolization of youth and marginalization of older gays; the materialism of gays; the competitiveness of gays; and the hypersexualization of gay "culture" with its tendency to cause isolation and loneliness -- these basic themes are still quite operative in today's supposedly modern gay world where the mainstream acceptance so ardently craved by some gays seems all but assured.
See this movie and get a wholly authentic taste of the witty, insightful and unhappy man who made it. This is a brilliant document, often highly entertaining when viewed in the proper spirit, and a valuable window not just on the dawn of the gay rights era but on the underside of today's supposedly brave new gay world.
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