Outing is a documentary about Sven who discovered that he is a pedophile when he was a teenager. He’s resolved to never act on his impulses in that regard, but nevertheless his life is a consistent struggle – a struggle with his own urges, with isolation and with depression.
Outing is extremely interesting as it lets Sven tell his own story and calls society out on the fact that pedophilia is basically the only crime people can commit without actually doing anything – just by thinking about it, or feeling a certain way. Nevertheless I would have appreciated more other perspectives, not only Sven’s (he’s almost the only one being interviewed), just to round the whole thing off.
Much like in Stillleben, Meise and Reider take the topic of pedophilia mostly as a starting point to discuss when a person becomes a criminal (in fact, I attended a discussion about this topic where the two were present and emphasized this point over and over). Having pedophile thoughts is not yet a crime (though more often than not it leads to social ostracization). Having pedophile porn illustrations is, though nobody actually comes to any harm (talking only about illustrations, not photos). Committing pedophile acts is, of course (and should be).
But where do these acts start, in fact? Is taking photos of children already a problem, even if they think it’s normal? If they don’t know about it? Can a pedophile cuddle with a child, even though it probably means something else to the pedophile than to the child? What if the child doesn’t understand that difference? What if they do?
And in the middle of all these questions (that are probably food for hours and hours of discussions) is Sven and his personal tragedy. Sven doesn’t want to hurt anybody, least of all any children, but he can’t really help himself falling in love with little boys. And he is consistently punished and punishes himself for what he can’t help. He is depressed and looking for therapeutic help, but even most therapists don’t want to touch that subject at all.
There is probably no easy solution to all of this. But what this film shows us is that the way we (as a society) treat pedophilia is definitely a problem that needs solving.