Coming Out

(Coming Out)

GDR, 1989, 108 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Assistant Director
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


As a boy, Philipp was strongly attracted to his best friend, but he put that behind him in order to live within the “norm.” He meets a shy girl who falls for him, and soon the couple is sharing an apartment. But Philipp cannot deny his passionate desire for a young man. After years of repressing his sexuality, he finally accepts himself for who he truly is.


Hailed as the first and only feature film about gay life ever produced in communist East Germany, Coming Out premiered on the night the Berlin Wall opened, November 9, 1989.


2018 Images of the Future: The Cinema of East Germany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2011 Shown at Outfest, The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, USA
2010/11 Shown at by Side, LGBT International Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia
2009 Shown at Torino Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Italy
2006 Shown at Teddy Twenty Tribute, Berlin International Film Festival
1998 Shown at Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York, USA
1990 Shown at International Festival of Lesbian and Gay Film, New York, USA
1990 Shown at Chicago's Lesbian and Gay Festival, USA
1990 Konrad Wolf Prize of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts (director Heiner Carow; author Wolfram Witt)
1990 Best Director (Heiner Carow), GDR Feature Film Festival in Berlin
1990 Best Young Male Actor (Matthias Freihof), GDR Feature Film Festival in Berlin
1990 Teddy Award, Berlin International Film Festival
1990 Silver Bear for the expression of respect for human rights, humanity, and tolerance, Berlin International Film Festival
1989 Critic's Prize for Film, Association of German Critics, Berlin Academy of Arts

Press comments

“One of the landmark works of gay cinema.”
​— David Hall,


"The descriptions of East Berlin's gay scene are revelations in themselves."


"This is a psychological film, but not one, however, to go astray, merely dabbling in psychological posturing. It is a film which seeks to attain - and relies on - the grandest emotion."
— Helmut Ullrich in the Berlin Neue Zeit on Nov. 10, 1989


"This is what life-drawings by Leonardo or Michelangelo look like. Praise be to Martin Schlesinger's camera-work which operates photographically with the finest aesthetic feeling for corporeality."
— Rosemarie Rehahn in the Berlin Wochenpost on Nov. 24, 1989


"...a gripping story of a man searching for his true sexual identity."
Image in the Dark, an Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Films


"One of the best gay films I've seen. I only wish there were more films like this!"
— Stephen Bourne, London Gay Times, March 2001


Special features:
  • "Best of Queer Berlin," a PC-friendly interactive city guide presented by Siegessäule
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Featurette Highlighting the Best of East German Cinema
  • Biography & Filmography
  • Remastered with New Subtitles

Shibboleth login