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.reportWritten by
I saw the 1989 West Geman feature "Coming Out" yesterday at the Brisbane Queer Film Festival (2nd June 2007) and I loved it.
It tells a realistic story of an incredibly handsome young high school teacher who is coming to grips with his homosexual tendencies. Philipp is a pleasant and sociable chap - and finds it easy to fall in love with a woman who has held a torch for him since their high school days. However when her best male friend turns out to be his own teenage lover (with a lot of emotional baggage attached), Philipp realises that his passion for men hasn't wained.
The soundtrack music is excellent - and it's refreshing to see a film which doesn't pander to the viewer - you have to pay attention and infer some of the plot, but it all makes perfect sense.
Coming Out is an empowering film - made and set at a time when all sex between men was equally illegal in my home state of Queensland as it was in East Germany. The opening night for "Coming Out" in Berlin was the same night that the Wall came down - that would have been one memorable night for all involved.
I was impressed enough to immediately order the DVD from the USA - it's a great film to share.
A few young people in the audience thought that "Coming Out" was a comedy (which is weird considering the opening detailed scene of a seriously ill young man in hospital having the contents of his stomach pumped). They guffawed at the fashions, the disco music and the dancing - but thankfully they shut up soon enough.
I thought the ending was particularly poignant - especially considering the film's title.
I also enjoyed seeing Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf as the barmaid in the gay club. She was perfect for that part - and it is a fitting tribute to her.
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