a film by Frank Ripploh
1980 | 95 mins | West Germany
›› Taxi zum Klo - Taxi to the Toilet
a remarkably honest snapshot of gay life, laid bare.
Taxi zum Klo by Frank Ripploh With shades of Ron Peck's memorable feature Nighthawks, this explicit depiction of hedonistic ways alternately shocked / delighted many in its day and no doubt will continue to surprise the Digital Versatile Disc generation with its sexual candour, some thirty plus years later.

Only between all of the rampant nudity of this porn with a plot piece, can be found the universal story of a troubled relationship, one that finds pickup turned lover Bernd longing for a monogamous relationship with his newfound partner Frank, only for this primary school teacher by day, sexual predator by night, to have other ideas. Yet with Berlin's annual Queen's Ball looming, is Frank's insatiable craving for anonymous sex set to see their relationship, along with the ballroom lights, fade in the morning after the night before?

Taxi zum Klo by Frank Ripploh Ingrained with a gritty realism courtesy of its self playing cast, this landmark of gay cinema offered a blatantly candid portrait of writer, director and star of the show Frank Ripploh's sexual appetite. For nothing is watered down here, with Ripploh from the onset inviting you to come cruising with him, along the way taking you on an insider's guide to Berlin's cottages and bath houses, pre-reunification style. Yet behind all of the man sex to be had, lies a bed of serious issues, as unbridled infidelity and the consequences of unprotected sex, are as relevant today if not more so, as they were back then; clinical concerns that give way to one of the film's infamous scenes. Laced between such however are moments of comical irony, sequences that provide a quirky counterbalance to Ripploh's unapologetically promiscuous character; namely a man who when caught in the act with a stranger, rather than apologise to his partner, suggests that next time he should rather - join in.

Intercut with vintage pornography, together with graphic scenes of Ripploh's increasingly fetish desires, the result is clearly not for everyone and certainly not for those easily offended, given nothing here is left to the imagination. For this is literally a warts and all portrayal of the cruising times that once were, for some, in the days before AIDS entered the equation. Sexually explicit, semi-autobiographical and groundbreaking, for sure. Yet this is equally a remarkably honest snapshot of gay life, laid bare, thankfully now fully restored, re-mastered and uncut. Yes, it may shock, but it's also a film that once seen, is unsurprisingly never forgotten.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - sexually explicit, and then some. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 23.May.2011 / UK.
available on DVD as part of the Breaking Glass Pictures catalogue: 14.December.2010 / US.
starring: Frank Ripploh / Frank, Bernd Broaderup / Bernd and Peter Fahrni as the Petrol Station Attendant
with Orpha Termin, Dieter Godde, Bernd Kroger, Klaus Schnee, Markus Voigtlander, Gregor Becker,
Irmgard Lademacher, Eberhard Freudenthal and Marguerite Dupont.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #394
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