TAXI ZUM KLO (TAXI TO THE TOILET)
Director: Frank Ripploh
Stars: Frank Ripploh, Bernd Broaderup
Available on DVD - order here
Taxi Zum Klo (Taxi to the Toilet) is a remarkable AIDS-eve film that was scandalous in its day and still runs rings around self-proclaimed “edgy” queer films that spew out of gay and lesbian film festivals and fringe houses and bore us to death year after year.
Wayne Koestenbaum says “Taxi Zum Klo still blows my mind: its happy explicitness, its cheerful liberatory politics”, and post-AIDS viewers may view it through an especially tortuous “what might have been” filter.
Frank (Frank Ripploh) is a high-school teacher in Berlin. His diligent nine-to-five is rewarded with trips to action johns and porn cinemas, where one night he meets Bernd (Bernd Broaderup), a theatre manager. They share a romantic affair, but Frank’s self-described restlessness and need to cruise gets in the way. Though he partly shares Bernd’s plans for a provincial retirement, he also wonders if he’ll ever lose the need to hunt the streets after dark, let alone have enough money after retirement to hire young boy prostitutes.
Nesty Bernd yearns for Frank to quit the acid tabs and clubs, which Frank seems to consider after an eerily prescient stay in hospital with STD overload. While Bernd tires to invigorate the affair with a trip to tropical Capri, Frank prefers to stay and search out more toilet sex in the chilly Berlin snow.
Broaderup is easy-on-the-eye and especially effective as the gentle lover who tries in vain to steer his partner away from the fast lane, and writer-director-star Ripploh unveils an unprecedently explicit rectal-focused video diary to the world.
Ripploh’s hairy butt crack is the first object we see in the movie, and a particularly fascinating scene has Frank at the doctor for an anal wart examination, with close ups of a speculum being inserted and Frank in stirrups on the surgery gurney. Grabs of ancient black-and-white German gay porn is interspersed throughout.
The film ends with a genial party scene and everyone seems fairly content and soaking up polymorphous adventures, an ending that plays very differently now to how it must have played then, at the beginning of 1981.