First released three decades ago, this self-produced portrait of Frank Ripploh’s excursions into Berlin’s gay world is curiously sexless seen in 2011.
Primary school teacher at work and insatiable sex-aholic the remaining sixteen hours of the day, there is virtually no act or position left untouched and nary an inch of the star’s personal real estate left to the imagination. Yet the preponderance of shallow, largely bareback couplings only serves to remind just how the HIV/AIDS pandemic travelled so widely, so fast.
What passes for a plot is the attempt by “Peggy” (Ripploh’s nom d’amour) to try and settle down with a one-night stand who dared to care (Bernd Broaderup takes on the thankless task being appropriately moody as the indiscretions mount up and absolutely charming in his Pierre et Gillies sailor suit worn at the Queen’s Ball).
Hans Wittstat’s slight score adds some aural relief to the comings and comings; a deft bit of set-up/payoff is the ticking alarm clock interventions being dead ringers for expertly cut lines of cocaine.
Snippets of archival footage and frequent cutaways add historical perspective and a marvellously clear “I-wonder-what-he’s-really-thinking” aura to the unabashed affairs. The inevitable inclusion of some teacher/student child abuse feels especially creepy, making any viewer hope that the grainy footage was just as staged as the water sports.
By journey’s end, Peggy truly throws the dice and invites his impressionable charges to join in the fun of breaking all of the rules so long as the individual’s needs and wants trump the expectations of civilized society. JWR