From exclusive premieres to rare archival print screenings, book signings, special dinners and events, Metrograph in New York City offers experiences for a wide spectrum of audiences, attracting diverse communities all drawn to the excitement of cinema and the magic of having a place to celebrate it. And in September, they’re shining a rare spotlight on a seminal gay classic!
More than 35 years after it first hit cinemas and shocked mainstream audiences, Frank Ripploh’s groundbreaking debut feature is returning to the big screen for a special engagement. Hailed as one of the defining forces behind the queer cinema genre, Taxi Zum Klo is Ripploh’s semi-autobiographical snapshot of the life of a gay schoolteacher – alternating between his “straight” work life and his nocturnal homosexual leisure activities. One of the many humorous sex scenes is in a public restroom where Frank, seated on a toilet, begins grading school papers while fondling genitals thrust at him through a glory hole. His sexual cavorting are temporarily halted when he falls in love with a movie theater manager who believes in home life and monogamy. But can he keep to the gay and narrow?
The consciousness and perception of gay men was revealed to a surprisingly large heterosexual audience when this witty and charming, but controversial social comedy opened theatrically in the USA in 1981. Taxi Zum Klo is, overall, a brash, invigorating work which considers the dilemma of gay fidelity and intimacy without succumbing to maudlin sentimentality or cynicism. Unflinchingly honest and unpretentious, this “warts and all” portrait unabashedly presents scenes of promiscuous pre-AIDS sex, including tea room romps and thirst-quenching water sports.
The film ultimately captures an unyielding vision of gay culture in 1981 West Berlin. Through his gritty portrayal of a dual lifestyle, Ripploh laid bare the dark secrets of the closet and contributed to the birth of a new genre. Taxi Zum Klo is a pivotal piece of cinematic history, still somewhat shocking today, that shows audiences how far a film can go and how much the modern gay mainstream has evolved (or devolved, depending on how you look at it).
Those outside of NYC who are not able to check out the film at Metrograph are encouraged to order your very own copy of the 30th Anniversary Edition Director’s Cut from just a few years ago. The DVD includes exclusive interviews with Frank Ripploh, international press clippings, the film’s original press kit, production stills and much, much more.