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|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||September 2, 1949||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Germany||Profession:||Cast ... director actor screenwriter producer|
Ripploh made quite a splash in both the waning days of "New German Cinema" and the international art-house scene with his debut feature, "Taxi zum Klo" (1980), but his career in features has not sustained itself. An extremely low-budget affair made, atypically for a German film at that time, without state support, "Taxi" was written and directed by the bold and enterprising neophyte. The long-faced, bearded and hawk-nosed Ripploh also engagingly played the leading role of Frank, a schoolteacher torn between his love of promiscuity, drag, public sex and the S&M leather scene on one hand and his romance with a monogamous theater manager on the other. Emerging at a time when gay-themed features were briefly making inroads in the USA and elsewhere, "Taxi" was unusually free of the sugar coating that marred most of the other, more tentative films. Both it and its leading character were remarkably frank and even explicit, and yet the film managed to charm critics and audiences alike with its vigor, insight, wit and lack of guilt.
Ripploh stayed in the public eye for a time via small but noticeable roles in several German films of the period such as "Kamikaze '89" (1982) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's last film, "Querelle" (1982). It was not until 1987, however, that Ripploh wrote, directed and starred in a second feature, "Taxi Nach Kairo/Taxi to Cairo," a sequel to his fondly remembered debut. With the growth of lesbian and gay film festivals conflicting with an increased cultural conservatism late in the 80s, Ripploh's second feature did not quite hit its mark appeasing either quarter. Its farcical situations involving Frank's mother, a heterosexual marriage of convenience and the character's still lively sexual pursuits had their modest pleasures, but the film was not especially successful and Ripploh's autobiographical forays into independent gay cinema petered out.
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