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NR
| | 1 hr 48 min | Drama, Romance, Foreign


The story revolves around a young high-school teacher, Philipp Klahrmann, who during his first day at work collides with a female teacher, Tanja in one of the school's corridors. As a result of the accident Tanja and Philipp get to know each other and quickly develop a romance. While going out with Tanja, Philipp gets dragged into a gay party and there he gets to know Matthias, a shy 19-year-old who quickly becomes interested in Philipp. After they meet again by chance, Matthias invites Philipp to his birthday party that evening. After some hesitation Philipp ends up going and that night the two of them go back to Philipp's apartment and sleep together.
The situation with Tanja deteriorates, as Philipp becomes more standoffish and worried, as he begins to come out to himself. He is forced to come out to Tanja, after he and Matthias embrace during the interval at the opera. The hug which they share is clearly more than that of two good friends. Matthias is distraught upon learning that Philipp is married and runs out of the opera house. Over the next few weeks Philipp searches for Matthias, until one night he finds him in a bar with another man - one of Philipp's students. Matthias, obviously still very hurt, pushes Philipp away.
Following this Philipp goes to the bar where he and Matthias first met and becomes aggressive towards an older gay man. He then calms down and a scene follows in which, through his tears, Philipp listens as this older gentleman explains calmly that he understands what Philipp is going through, as 50 years earlier, he and his then boyfriend were arrested by the Nazis. Following this they were imprisoned in a concentration camp. In a speech designed to please the SED and DEFA, the older gay man explains how the communists helped him through his struggle.
The film ends with a scene in the classroom, as the headteacher - who obviously has discovered Philipp's sexual orientation - says that she and a group of teachers need to observe his classes to see if he's still suitable to teach. Philipp is quiet for a long time and this prompts the headteacher to say 'Kollege Klahrmann!' to which Klahrmann simply replies 'Ja'. Freihof claims that this single utterance signifies the recognition, by Philipp, of his sexual orientation and everything attendant with it. The film closes with a shot of Philipp leaving his apartment block on his bicycle.

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Stars
Matthias Freihof, Dagmar Manzel, Dirk Kummer, Michael Gwisdek, Werner Dissel
Director
Heiner Carow
Language
English
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