Heiner Carow, one East Germany’s few openly gay filmmakers, directed this 1989 drama about a closeted high school teacher terrified of his own sexuality. Reportedly the first East German film to address homophobia, it locates the problem within a larger cultural context, touching on related issues of conformism and racism. The movie may not be subtle as cultural critique, but as drama it’s generally understated and humane, with Matthias Freihof exceptional as the teacher. This may be most interesting today as a portrait of East Berlin just before the end of the Communist era; Carow directed documentaries as well as fiction features, and he grounds the story in vivid, journalistic observation. A milestone in more ways than one, this was released in Germany on the day the Berlin Wall fell. In German with subtitles.