An invaluable snapshot of ‘70s gay life, this racy re-release from 1981 is a shocking, raunchy, bare-boned delight. Meaning ‘Taxi to the John’ in German, Taxi Zum Klo earned its stripes as a scandalous, underground pseudo-porno back in the ‘80s, and retains much of its power to flabbergast even today.
Frank Ripploh directs and stars as the bearded gay teacher who leads a double life – by day he’s an adored educator of children, by night he’s a drug-loving, promiscuous playboy whose boundaries are as sturdy as pink crepe paper. Ripploh’s night life consists solely of hitting up hedonistic highs – meeting men in toilets and plucking strangers from the street. But when he falls in love with Bernd, can Ripploh survive the limitations of a monogamous relationship?
Clever, candid and uncommercial, much of Taxi’s ability to rivet stems from its sly blending of fact with fiction. While it’s shot in a straight forward documentary style, and includes everything from real-life people to hardcore gay sex, it’s near impossible to separate the real from the fabricated. With all those involved in the making of the film now dead, it’s a captivating conundrum.
Where Taxi works best, though, is as an intriguing time capsule that offers important insight into a time gone by. It’s plain to see why the film was so outrageous to an ‘80s audience. In this era of Shortbus orgies and 9 Songs orgasms, Taxi’s ability to shock now comes from its depiction of casual, unprotected sex in a pre-AIDs setting – in particular a graphic scene in which Ripploh engages in water sports with a man he barely knows. An opportune reminder of how much has changed in the intervening 30 years, Taxi makes for a rough, ready, disarmingly intelligent ride. 4/5
Via Out In The City