“TAXI ZUM KLO”–a look back

“TAXI ZUM KLO”

A Look Back

Amos Lassen

I have wanted to review “Taxi Zum Klo” (Taxi to the Toilet) released by Cinevista Vide for a long time but it has gone for long periods of being out of print or simply unattainable. I finally got a copy of it on DVD and it is everything I remembered it being. It is not a new film being 27 years old now but it an important film and considering its nature, it is a forerunner of the gay movies we have today and I would even go so far as t say that no modern movie has been able to approach its realism and grittiness. Made in Germany, it shows a side of gay life that many of us are unfamiliar with.

“Taxi Zum Klo” is the story of a pair of ill-matched lovers (that was the term used for artners back then). Bernd is a stay-at-home who prefers cooking and cleaning while Frank is outgoing and loves to explore the public toilets and leather bars of Berlin for cheap thrills and one time tricks. He is also an elementary school teacher and the movie shows his life in explicit yet non exploitive detail. It is depicted a different yet not perverse. This is an openly autobiographical film with the director playing himself with great irony and wit and a great deal of tackiness Just look at the title).

Frank is every bit a rascal, he has a beard and he is a school teacher. He is also very gay, very out and has a very active sex life and a penchant for public sex. He does manage to keep his life as a teacher secret from his life as a gay man and e does this by grading his students’ papers in public toilets as he waits to score, He cruises all of the time and then one evening he meets Bernd and they become lovers. Bernd is affectionate and caring but Franks get bored for his old ways and continues them. Everything changes at the annual Berlin Queen’s Ball and during the morning after.

This a refreshing film with nothing hidden. It isn’t pretty but it is funny and sexy. It is a view of life and probably best appreciated by those who have an open relationship and an adventurous streak. It exposes how delightful it is to be selfish and how one who wants to have it all manages to live. Frank loves his boyfriend but he also loves anonymous sex. This is a pre  -AIDs movie and it is way ahead of its time. There are some very explicit sex scenes and a lot of frontal nudity and the sex makes “Queer as Folk” look mild.

Ii is a fascinating look at early gay relationships before our lives were changed by AIDS. It is bold and it is a baring of the soul of the director who throws everything up at the screen with no apology It is an extremely honest film and I was absorbed by it completely. It is a semi-documentary approach to the life of Frank. It shows that you can live a regular life and be gay at the same time. The film has not been appreciated enough or seen enough and many have condemned it for being so straightforward and bold. It opens up the secret side of our lives as we open our hearts to the actors in the film. This is one to be relished and cherished and ever so thankful we have it—boldness and all. But this is a film to watch with open eyes and open minds. We are now living in the 2000s and the world is opening up to different sexuality o what was taboo in the 80s is more accepted now. We all know that not all men act like the guys in the film and secrecy about sex is usually desired for people in public positions who many would put down if their homosexuality was to be brought to the fore. Even with that, it is good that we have some people who are willing to be who and what they are all of the time and live in a society with others but march to their own music.

A new edition is available from Breaking Glass pictures.

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