Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Lesbian Film/Gender Bender
Short Take: A German journalist travels to San Francisco looking for love. She dates a drag king.
Alternate Titles: Die Jungfrauenmaschine
Year: 1988
Duration: 84 min
Language: West Germany/English & German
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Monika Treut
Writer: Monika Treut
Starring: Ina Blum, Marcelo Uriona, Gad Klein, Peter Kern, Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, Dominique Gaspar, Susie Bright, Shelly Mars, Fritz Mikesch, Wolfgang Raach, George Lannan, Erica Marcus, Rhonda Jarvis, Carla Wood Saivre, Fakir Musafar

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Virgin MachineGerman writer/director Monika Treut (Gendernauts, Female Misbehavior) is known for indie films that push the boundaries of sexuality and gender. This grainy black and white film feels experimental and will leave you wondering just what the message is (and what’s behind the movie title).

Dorothee (Ina Blum) is a journalist living in Hamburg, and she dreams of romantic love. She’s very analytical about the subjects of love and attraction, but craves that which can’t be explained. Her boyfriend is annoyingly boring and ordinary. She also sleeps with her half brother.

Dorothee’s mother moved to California years ago, so she decides to go find her in San Francisco. There she meets another German, Dominique (Dominique Gaspar), who is the receptionist for a porn king. She also runs into Susie Sexpert (Susie Bright), who gives her a dildo demonstration.

She ends up at a lesbian strip club and goes out on a date with Ramona (Shelly Mars, Venus Boyz), a drag king. The two have a great time and end up in bed, in a love scene that is oddly choreographed. Dorothee thinks she’s in love … until she gets the bill for her ‘date.’ It’s not true love, but Dorothee has awakened her sexuality. Soon she is on stage doing a strip tease herself, never actually finding her mother, but happy beginning a new life. (AB)