Frank Ripploh is a bit of a rascal: he's a bearded and shaggy-haired teacher, and he's gay with a very active sex life and an interest in making films. He keeps his personal life and ... See full summary »
Frank Ripploh is a bit of a rascal: he's a bearded and shaggy-haired teacher, and he's gay with a very active sex life and an interest in making films. He keeps his personal life and teaching separate, but he sometimes corrects student papers in public toilets as he waits to score. He cruises constantly, and one evening, he meets Bernd. They become lovers. While Bernd is attentive and caring, Frank gets bored and continues his polymorphously perverse ways. For how long will Bernd and Frank tolerate each other's habits, and for how long can Frank keep his sexual orientation out of the classroom? Things come to a head during Berlin's annual Queen's Ball and the morning after. Written by
Raw, Graphic, Explicit, and Unflinching Look at Gay Life
I just watched the DVD of Taxi Zum Klo, some 25+ years after seeing the original in first release. I had forgotten how graphic and explicit the movie is. I almost wonder if the version I first saw (in the U.S.) was released intact. I didn't remember gay sex scenes clearly showing b/j's and penetration. Maybe I blocked them out.
The overall quality of the DVD is lacking. It's definitely a transfer from video, fuzzy and jumpy. The dim, white subtitles are an exercise in frustration. This groundbreaking film deserves better. I wonder if Criterion would have the balls to tackle it?
It's a good movie, clearly autobiographical. The story is a gay relationship in late 1970s Berlin. The main character, a teacher, struggles to reconcile his political conviction of sexual liberty and promiscuity with the more traditional lifestyle of his lover.
The style of the film is Cassavetes-like. We get the sense that the director--who is also the lead actor-- used his friends and lovers from "true life" to act along with him. Transitions are abrupt, and not always logical. The cinematography is literal and conventional, if not downright crude, but somehow it still manages to yield a couple of shots that are beautiful. The ending feels hurried and unfinished. And it's hard to escape the suspicion that the explicit sex is used primarily for shock value.
Nevertheless, this is an important film in gay cinema and one that anyone interested in the genre's development and history should see. The story line is the essential, if now stereotypical, dilemma of the modern gay male: do we emulate hetero straight values, or invent a new socio-political lifestyle for ourselves? It is a theme repeated in countless other gay films, but never as directly or as raw as it was here, just as a gay cinema was beginning.
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