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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly graphic film blending fiction and reality
My motives for this review are selfish, since my life changed the day I saw this film (January 5th, 1984). Sitting in the theatre as an adolescent, enthralled by this film, I came out to myself and started the process of letting the rest of the world know who I am. I recently watched the film again, and realized that what is most amazing about this film is the blurring of...
Published on May 6, 2003 by David Kaminsky

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, fascinating, and why we watch foreign movies
Frank Ripploh's largely autobiographical film takes two fairly schematic themes -- boy meets boy and all that that entails; and man deals with utter dislocation between job and private life -- and turns them into a fascinating look at a modern Germany that just as easily could be Taipei (think Ang Lee) or Rome (think Vittorio de Sica).
Frank is an elementary school...
Published on March 12, 2003 by David H. (Austin)


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly graphic film blending fiction and reality, May 6, 2003
By 
David Kaminsky (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo [VHS] (VHS Tape)
My motives for this review are selfish, since my life changed the day I saw this film (January 5th, 1984). Sitting in the theatre as an adolescent, enthralled by this film, I came out to myself and started the process of letting the rest of the world know who I am. I recently watched the film again, and realized that what is most amazing about this film is the blurring of the boundary between drama and documentary. We see Frank Ripploh enacting significant events in his life, even hooking up (and breaking it off again, this time for the camera) with his ex Bernd Broaderup for the sake of cinematic verissimilitude. It is sometimes harrowing, if not downright disturbing to watch, not because the sex scenes make most people (especially straight people) uncomfortable, but because the viewer feels like a voyeur. Everything about this film is "amateur," in the sense of being done for love instead of profit. We tend to disdain things "amateur" in our society, but a film about real people and the lives they lead cannot be "done" by professionals (Hollywood doesn't GET this). I think this is an amazing film, and none of the usual criteria for "reviewing" this film apply.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, fascinating, and why we watch foreign movies, March 12, 2003
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This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
Frank Ripploh's largely autobiographical film takes two fairly schematic themes -- boy meets boy and all that that entails; and man deals with utter dislocation between job and private life -- and turns them into a fascinating look at a modern Germany that just as easily could be Taipei (think Ang Lee) or Rome (think Vittorio de Sica).
Frank is an elementary school teacher by day, and a sexual adventurer any time he is NOT at school. On one of his forays into the demimonde, he meets Bernd (played by the very appealing Bernd Broaderup) and falls in love. What follows is fairly typical of any love story, but it is in the details that Ripploh takes his audience into another world. Frank's love story is punctuated by sexual escapades that would have horrified Jane Austen. Added to this, Frank must come to terms with the increasing tension between his respectable job and his not so respectable but very exciting sex life. How Frank resolves this tension is simultaneously amusing and horrifying.
This film is not for prudes or the squeamish. The sex scenes are graphic and sometimes hard to watch. Also, it is obvious that the film was cheaply made, with gritty camera work and spotty sound quality. Still, the details draw the viewer in; you actually see how these people live (and where else do you see an old Karmann Ghia these days?). It is also eerie to see such lack of sexual restraint in a world on the brink of the HIV horror (Taxi zum Klo was released in 1981).
I was fascinated with this film in 1981 and I remain so in 2003. The only reason I gave this movie 3 stars instead of 4 is that the subtitles have an annoying tendency to disappear into the scenery. A passing familiarity with German would help fill in some of the gaps in legibility, but you will probably need several viewings to get all the plot points.
One comes away from this movie with feelings that only foreign films can provide. While Ripploh is no Kurosawa, de Sica, or Inagaki, he equals them in taking you to another world.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Terrible DVD, May 13, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
Don't buy this DVD! Very poor copy (fuzzy, weak color) of film (transfered from a VHS tape?). The subtitles (NOT removable) hard to read. No chapter stops. No extras except some equally fuzzy previews for other Cinevista products. Very disappointing cheap issue at a high price. Hopefully some other company will issue a proper version some day.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Taxi To The Toilet', May 28, 2011
By 
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
That is the literal translation from the German. This is `a lost gay classic', in that it has been banned since its' release in 1980. The reasons why come (forgive the pun) pretty quick in that this is an honest, raw, explicit autobiographical tale of Frank Ripploh. He wrote, directed, produced and starred in it; this was his story of leading a double life as a school teacher by day, and a sex addict experimentalist by night.

He goes out to meet men for sex, but this can mean marking his pupil's homework whilst on the toilet awaiting `glory hole' action. He finally meets boyfriend material and they set up house, however, he can not stop his proclivities and gets caught, his reaction is to say `next time - join in', sound advice indeed.

There are a host of supporting actors or characters a particularly voluptuous `party girl' is one of the best. There are very graphic scenes throughout which led to the 25 year ban, but thanks to Film 4 they managed to get a classification in 2005 but because of the `cultural significance' of the film taken as a whole - the water sports would still be too much for a main stream (oops another pun) audience. This could be seen as pornographic, but it is just a raw and honest take on gay relations and real emotions. One of the reasons why it works so well is that they are nearly all friends of Frank (only two real actors), they worked for credit and he by passed the authorities to get the kids to act too.

This is a ground breaking, entertaining, vital and visceral film that needs to be seen by anyone interested in gay cinema and or gay culture, This is fully restored but the sound quality goes a bit seventies porno in places which, for me, added to the mood and humour.

There are some excellent extras for this anniversary release. This is a very human very real and obviously made with a lot of heart - I can not recommend this film highly enough and it may even give you some ideas for post viewing entertainment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, but stay away if you are anti-gay!, October 9, 2011
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This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
I first saw this movie when it was released in Germany, a looooong time ago, and I was just a tween... actually, this was my first exposure to homosexual intimacy... and it left a remarkable imprint on my mind: in essence, what I took away from this story was: Love is human, no matter what the configuration is. All human emotions are the same, no matter who loves whom. Relationships follow the same patterns, regardless of the gender configuration of the partners involved. Love and intimacy are beautiful, no matter who the people involved might be...
I will never forget this story! It is honest to the max, no sugar coating, no excuses, no hiding!
The director, Frank Ripploh, who made this movie to tell us about his own ordeal in real life, did a wonderful job of letting us into his life, and telling us his side of the story.

However, if you are very tight-wound in matters of the body, and if you cannot accept that humans can have all kinds of love relationships, and that it is OK!!!, stay away from this movie, it will upset you!

In St. Louis, about 20 years ago, only one rental place had one copy of it. This was a small company specializing in foreign movies only. I found out about it and went to rent it, in order to share it with my husband. I never got to rent it, because I was told one customer had taken it and refused to return it.
Well, not for the reason I assumed (he loved it so much he did not want to part with it)...No, he had confiscated it because he considered it sinful and obscene, and took matters in his own hands to "protect the decent citizens" from "scum"!!! This just to show you how this movie churns up deep reactions in different folks!

I am very happy that we now get to buy it here, and in DVD format, too! For the longest time, it was only available in VHS.

So, if you have an open mind, if you believe in the human right to be whatever you want to be or are made to be by Mother Nature herself, this is a must-have addition to your collection!

Maybe it is not as intense (but don't ask me, I am biased, lol) if you don't understand German (you'll have to read the dialog, which is always a little inconvenient, I think), but watch it more than once, and you'll be able to focus on the story better once you know what the dialog is).

And, in the matter of German movies on Gaydom, here is one that I love just as much, but is very different in nature (a re-enacted documentary of a real life and still living person): The title: "Ich bin meine eigene Frau"
("I am my own woman")... I am not sure if you can find it here, though... you can always try!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternately Amusing, Distasteful: Enter At Your Own Risk, January 24, 2007
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
If you rebell at even the mildest same-sex love scene, you'd do well to keep your distance from Frank Ripploh's autobiographical TAXI ZUM KLO. Not only is the film shot through with casual male nudity and film clips of vintage pornography, it also contains several extremely explicit sex scenes--including at least one that will cause even the most jaded viewer to wince.

Filmed in Germany in 1981, TAXI ZUM KLO (which translates as "Taxi to the Toilet") is the saga of Frank Ripploh himself--who finds that his job as a school teacher impinges upon his sexual escapades in an annoying sort of way. Pressed for a piece of paper, he writes the telephone number of a potential sexual partner in a student's theme book; determined not to miss a moment, he grades student papers while cruising a public bathroom frequented by like-minded homosexuals. But then Frank meets Bernd (real-life partner Bernd Broaderup), and a one-night stand turns into a relationship in which Frank seems to have it all: handsome, sexy Bernd has eyes for Frank only--and he can even cook.

Up to this point TAXI ZUM KLO maintains a certain eccentric humor that balances distaste with amusement; now, however, we begin to see that Frank is essentially a sex addict, a man who both desires and fears a permanent relationship. As the relationship intensifies, Frank begins to undermine it, turning to casual drug use that fuels an ever-escalating round of sexual extremes. Can Frank maintain his day-time facade as a school teacher? How much is Bernd willing to endure?

TAXI ZUM KLO is often described as "an erotic comedy," and when it first made the rounds of art house cinemas and film festivals in the early 1980s it proved an audience favorite and critical darling; even so, the words "erotic" and "comedy" are more than a little dicey. Heterosexuals will have to be incredibly broadminded to find the film erotic, and after a certain point the same becomes true of homosexuals as well, for the sexual escapades become increasingly dark, increasingly disasteful as the film progresses. Much the same is true of the comic elements, which very soon become dark and, by the end of the film, less funny than disturbing and bitter. This is particularly true when one considers that Ripploh's behavior--and the behavior of others like him--fueled the AIDS crisis that exploded in the 1980s not long after this film debuted.

The performances, generally consisting of actors playing themselves, are unstudied yet interesting, and the visual style of the film approximates documentary. Although I do not own the hard-to-find DVD, I have seen it; it has no extras and the picture quality is mediocre at best. I do own the VHS, and while I would not describe that as pristine, I consider it distinctly superior in picture quality. In both cases, however, the subtitles are rendered in white print--and this is unfortunate, for they are often shown against light backgrounds that make them difficult to read.

In closing, I find it difficult to make a recommendation on TAXI ZUM KLO. Over the years I have shown it and loaned it to various friends, and few were able to sit through it from start to finish. Heterosexual viewers who weathered the graphic nature of the film usually found the veneral disease clinic scene a turning point; homosexual viewers endured longer but generally found a urine-laced scene toward the end of the film so distasteful that they stopped the film. Those able to reach the end of the film seemed to feel that its interest was undercut by the very unsympathetic nature of the central character and a considerable "ick" factor.

Ultimately, it probably best to consider TAXI ZUM KLO as a historical portrait of a certain segment of Berlin's pre-AIDS gay community. If you have an interest in that place and time, you will find it worth the effort; if not, you are likely to think the hurdles involved aren't worth the effort. Final word: enter at your own risk.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent realistic portrayal of a gay male in Berlin in the early 1980s, March 27, 2012
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
What a find! Taxi Zum Klo (Taxi to the Toilet) is a rare gem. The film was originally not released in the UK as the BBFC would not allow certain scenes to be seen. Rather than edit the film and allow the film to be censored a decision was taken not to release the film. In 2005, Film4 resubmitted the film to the BBFC who allowed the film to be classified as an 18 uncensored.
The film does contain some gay sex scenes in and has a watersports scene which may not be to everybody's taste. However they are all vital parts of the film and certainly make this into the masterpiece that it is.
I loved seeing the way Berlin was back then. The film certainly looks dated in some places, but that is part of its charm.
This will be a film that I will watch again sometime soon.
Well worth a watch!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie from the Pre-AIDS age. Not for everyone!, January 25, 2012
By 
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
I can't recommend this movie any more highly than I have in public. The late, very-little-known-in-the-USA Frank Ripploh recreates a wonderful universe of early-80s gay Germany (Berlin, I believe). His story is semi-autobiographical and does not hold back (including the already notorious dream sequence). It is simply about a kindergarten teacher by day/gay cruiser by night and the man he falls in love with (and stars Ripploh and his love - I'm not sure if they stayed together until Ripploh's untimely death).

What makes this movie great is that can be thought of as one of the movies of the German New Wave, with its unyielding reality and "gritty" portrayal of life in Cold War Germany. It can also be considered one of the very last movies (if not THE last one) that did not mention AIDS, which was entering world consciousness at the time. It is historically important in both of these ways, but also on a cultural line: It doesn't hold back many taboos associated with (what is called) Queer Cinema. It is daring, it is unapologetic, and it is real.
I have seen the movie several times, and, no, I am NOT gay (and that has nothing to do with my review anyway).

This movie owes alot to New German Cinema (I feel Ripploh is just as important as Adlon and Fassbinder) as well as the French New Wave in its portrayals, its vision, and its cinema-verite style. Very much a German movie.

Beware: Expect to be shocked several times in the movie. It is not for mainstream (yeah, I got that pun, too) audiences AT ALL. This is a movie for those who really love cinema. Don't just go get a copy and expect something like "Philadelphia" or "The Incredible True Story of Two Girls in Love." You'll be disappointed.

(For a companion movie - also for comparison analysis, find the East German movie "Coming Out" (1989), which is about the gay community in the waning years of the GDR.)

5 Stars Solid.

Note: the movie was made with a low budget, so the DVD may look like a bad transfer, and it may just be a bad transfer. Unfortunately, this movie still has an undeserved stigma attached to it so that most of the "better" dvd producers will not touch this movie. Very unfortunate! One may not like the quality of the transfer, but I don't believe it horribly diminishes the impact and importance of this movie! Perhaps one of these companies (it would be extremely delightful if it were Criterion, but talk of a long shot!) will someday give this movie the respect it deserves and distribute a better copy one day....
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Taxi!!", March 5, 2003
This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
Believe it or not this piece of German filmography translates as "Taxi to the toilet". It's basically a no holds barred account of the life of an "ordinary" gay man in a not so ordinary leather scene in 70's Deutschland.
Some of the scenes are a little shocking for the time and even now too, however the harder images are carefully filmed and work well with the general running of the movie.
To summarise: Actually quite a good, well acted, film but definitely for a mature audience.
(The DVD is in German language with removal English subtitles.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than meets the eye..., May 19, 2012
By 
R. Gawlitta "Coolmoan" (Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Taxi Zum Klo (DVD)
I'm amazed, after first seeing this almost 30 years ago, how fresh and relevant Ripploh's film really is. It's stood the test of time, and has now relegated itself to cult-classic status, though there are many things about the film that are admirable, most of all, Ripploh's self-depricating humor and honesty. When I first saw it, I thought it might be another "Pink Flamingos", loaded with sensationalist laffs and trashy humor. There is definitely humor, and most will think it trashy, but the honesty resonates. It's also a very upsetting film, regarding the trials of a very lonely gay man who doesn't really know how to love completely. The gay lifestyle is often bashed for such behavior, and Herr Ripploh makes no bones about his association to this idea. Gay life is not simple, often painful, paranoia and all.

The first time I saw the film, I was admittedly shocked and surprised. This time, I was overwhelmed with the humor and free-spirited feeling that was being presented. The honesty is unabashed and courageous, and I give it 5 stars for it's sheer audacity.

The film is not presented well, certainly not "preserved"; often grainy and unclear, and subtitles are quite difficult to read.

It's fun to have this in my "eclectic" collection.This is a ground-breaker, not to be criticized for its subject matter; rather for it's profound introduction to the gay lifestyle. This 30th anniversary edition has some extras that are quite instructive, especially the clips about its winning the '81 Max Ophuls Award, and ensuing outrage. I just wish they would've taken more care to present it better. Admittedly, it's very low budget ($500K) so I suppose the prints weren't so good at the start...
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Taxi Zum Klo
Taxi Zum Klo by Frank Ripploh (DVD - 2010)
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