17 user 10 critic

Coming Out (1989)

A young teacher in East Berlin struggles with accepting his homosexuality.


Heiner Carow


Erika Richter (dramatisation), Wolfram Witt (scenario)
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthias Freihof Matthias Freihof ... Philipp Klarmann
Dagmar Manzel Dagmar Manzel ... Tanja
Dirk Kummer Dirk Kummer ... Matthias
Michael Gwisdek ... Achim
Werner Dissel Werner Dissel ... Älterer Homosexueller
Gudrun Ritter ... Frau Moellemann, Serviererin
Walfriede Schmitt Walfriede Schmitt ... Philipp's mother
Axel Wandtke Axel Wandtke ... Jakob
Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss ... Araber (as Pierre Bliss)
René Schmidt René Schmidt ... Junger Mann im Park
Thomas Gumpert Thomas Gumpert ... Larry
Ursula Staack Ursula Staack ... Üppige
Robert Hummel Robert Hummel ... Lutz
Horst Ziethen Horst Ziethen ... Schmächtiger
Gertraud Kreissig Gertraud Kreissig ... Schul-Direktorin


Reportedly the first film to come out of East Germany to deal openly with gay issues. Philipp, a closeted teacher is dating a female collegue to keep up appearances. One night, by 'accident' he stumbles into a gay bar, meets and promptly falls in love with a young man. Transformed by this love he is no longer afraid to face up to who he is.report Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Premiered in East-Berlin on 9 November 1989. When the news broke that the border between East and West had been opened, the film was stopped and the audience was informed about the event taking place outside the cinema. The vast majority of the audience demanded to see the rest of the film before joining the masses outside. See more »


Featured in Among Men: Gay in East Germany (2012) See more »


Schlohweißer Tag
Performed by Silly
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User Reviews

A young East German man's coming out story
3 August 2001 | by Havan_IronOakSee all my reviews

As a youth Philipp had an unconsummated relationship with a schoolmate but panicked and ended it. He's now a teacher in a high school and starting a relationship with a woman named Tanja who teaches at the same school. When Tanja introduces him to a friend of hers who turns out to be Philipp's old schoolmate, Philipp's questions about his sexuality resurface. When Philipp begins to explore his feelings by checking out a local gay bar he meets Mathias, a charming young man who is equally smitten with him.

Philipp is attractive and has a puppy dog-like air of vulnerability, but while Philipp is starting to be more honest with himself about what he wants, he's not honest with those around him and in his confusion and panic ends up hurting all of those that try to love him. This makes for a sadder movie than other coming out stories such as Beautiful Thing or the older Making Love.

In summary this is an interesting but ultimately unfulfilling story look at one man's coming out. There are scenes that are over the top and others that I just plain don't understand but this may be a cultural thing. E.g. Several patrons leaving a gay bar have never met Philipp but come up to him as they pass him in the street, stroke his hair and point him inside. Also the bar has gay men in costumes that are wilder than anything I see in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Is it a special event or were gay bars in East Germany more festive than I'd heard?

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East Germany



Release Date:

10 November 1989 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Coming Out See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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