One Taxi Ride is a documented glimpse into the pain and trauma of sexual assault, and a story that desperately needs to be told.
My first film at NewFest, New York City’s LGBTQ premiere film festival for the last 31 years, was one that strikes at you with a story that is unbearable to hear, yet important to watch. One Taxi Ride, a documentary in Mexico City by Mac CK, follows Erick, a gay 27-year-old man, over the course of a few months. The audience is just a fly on the wall of this man’s life.
We soon learn that when Erick was 17, he was kidnapped and raped by a taxi driver and other men on his birthday. We don’t receive all of the details until much later in the film, but we know that a traumatic experience has occurred to this young man. This awful night saturates Erick’s entire life: his romantic relationships, his thoughts toward sex, his relationship to members of his family, his overall happiness and expression.
Throughout the film, we sit on the sidelines and watch Erick start a new relationship, meet his boyfriend’s family, and struggle to speak about that night when he was just a teenager. We hear him tell his boyfriend the story, and we later hear him tell his family, along with the fact that he was diagnosed with HIV shortly after. It’s more than difficult to hear the first time around, but when he tells his family, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
The documentary’s technical aspects were far from perfect. The sound was fuzzy and uneven, and the camera work wasn’t beautiful by any means. None of that really matters, though. The story needs to be told and it has vital importance to society as a whole.
Erick’s shame, his anger, his sadness, his courage, his pride, and his sheer inspiration is on display. Not much is left to the imagination, and that’s a good thing. We need to talk about these experiences because they happen more often than we’d like to think.
Erick’s family has a host of problems on their own, with his sister-in-law suffering family sexual abuse years earlier. Their cafe is robbed during the course of the film. They are struggling to make ends meet. It’s a collection of difficulties, and you can’t help but cry once you know the love they share with each other. Their love, their support is unbreakable, filled with a hope that’s not just manifested. It’s a tangible warmth.
One Taxi Ride and its real-life counterparts have so much worth. That’s all you need to know.
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Michael is a regular critic for Ready Steady Cut and also writes for Cinema Sentries, The Film Experience and Film Inquiry.