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Taxi zum Klo


Michel Rubén


Only eleven years have past between the opening from Taxi zum Klo of Frank Ripploh (1981) and Les Nuits Fauves of Cyrill Collard (1992), but in this decade, the life of many homosexuals worldwide changed radically. Taxi zum Klo, the first movie done by Ripploh, with many autobiographical references, is a fresh and daring journey through the life of a Berliner institute professor, who manages to conciliate his busy nightlife of anonymous sex with the daily routine as a professor. Everything is turned upside down when he meets Bernd, who moves in with him and dreams with a life together in the countryside. Without fear, this movie shows some scenes who many considered pornographic and was able to be distributed among film centres, where critics such as the strict Janet Maslin from The New York Times, admired its courage, humor and freshness.

It shares with Les Nuits Fauves the will of its characters / directors to show the body and soul stripped. How men lived their lives with passion and without gilt, although its shameless and ironic tones reminds us that it was made in years prior to the AIDS crisis. When I first saw it, in 1987, its crudeness shocked me, while its ironic point of view from a world which I had never seen in the big screen disarmed me. Seeing it again after 20 years, reaffirms me that it is one of the handful movies which have dared to do it.


Frank Ripploh biography

In 1978 Ripploh, aged 28 attracts the attention of the more underground German culture with a slide projected in an alternative movie theatre near the Free University of Berlin. In 1979 has a small role in Execution: a study of Maria directed by Elfi Mikesch and, in 1982 in Querelle by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, with whom he already worked having a small role as gangster in 1982 in Kamikaze 1989, a science fiction detective story.

But it is in 1980 when Ripploh became famous with his first movie Taxi zum Klo (Taxi to the W.C.), where he was actor, writer and director. Ripploh worked at that time in Berlin as teacher in a Hauptschule and by getting out of the closet voluntarily and appearing in the front page of the Stern magazine in 1978, he got a disciplinary notice form the school authorities. After the premiere of his movie, he became instantly a celebrity and his work is still today of cult movie. Taxi zum Klo, shot with an extremely low budget, got the Max Ophüls prize in 1981. But Taxi to the W.C. was not really his first movie, since he already worked with the pseudonym Peggy von Schnottgenberg as anthologist of short stories and actor in the movies Axel von Auersperg and Star monologue by Rosa von Praunheim, as well as in two movies by Ulrike Ottinger, Fascination for the blue seaman and Madame X, next to Tabea Blumenschein, that later appeared playing in Taxi to the W.C.

From 1992 to 1994 he collaborates as freelance cinema critic doing interviews for the Stern and Die Woche magazines and in his last years he produced the pornographic movie Strip & Fick. In 2002 he dies of cancer.




Taxi zum Klo

Directed by: Frank Ripploh
Interpreted by: Frank Rippoh, Bernd Broaderup, Orpha Termin
Feature Film, Germany, 1980

Frank is during the day an elementary school teacher. The rest of his time is spent wandering the streets, parks, or public restrooms of Berlin in search for sex. That is until he finds himself a boyfriend, the sweet and romantic Bernd, but without giving up his habits of flirting and seduction. A very transgressive movie for his time, and still a cult movie today, not only for the crudeness and lightness of the characters but for how he portraits the problems of relationships and transvestism. A movie before AIDS that talks about the desire of freedom played by the director himself and mainly based in his own life.

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