The Purple Taxi

Watch The Purple Taxi

  • R
  • 1977
  • 2 hr
  • 6.5  (641)

The Purple Taxi is a 1977 French drama directed by Yves Boisset and stars an impressive cast of international actors including Charlotte Rampling, Philippe Noiret, and Peter Ustinov. The film takes place in the politically tumultuous world of 1970s Lebanon and follows the story of two individuals from different social classes who are brought together by a shared experience.

The story begins with Michel (Noiret), an aging French journalist who has been reporting on the situation in Lebanon for many years. He is a cynical and jaded figure, disillusioned by the violence and corruption that he has witnessed. One day, while driving his car, he is stopped by a group of armed men and kidnapped. He is taken to a remote location and held captive by a group of militants who are fighting against the government.

At the same time, Lamia (Rampling), a wealthy French woman, arrives in Beirut to visit her husband who works as a diplomat. She hires a taxi to take her to a hotel, but the driver (Ustinov) is a quirky character who is more interested in showing her the sights of Beirut than taking her directly to her destination. He takes her to a seedy nightclub where she witnesses a brutal assassination, and is then pursued by the killers. In her panic, she jumps into a purple taxi and asks the driver to take her away from the danger.

As fate would have it, the purple taxi is the same one that Michel is being held captive in. Lamia and Michel are initially wary of each other, but as they spend more time together they begin to bond. Michel tells Lamia about his experiences as a journalist in Lebanon and the political landscape of the country. Lamia, in turn, reveals her own personal struggles and insecurities.

As they travel through the chaotic and violent streets of Beirut, they confront their own prejudices and preconceptions about each other's social status and nationality. But despite their differences, they come to rely on each other for survival and support.

The Purple Taxi is a tense and suspenseful film that explores the complexities of human relationships in times of conflict. It is a reflection on the nature of political violence and the toll it takes on both individuals and society as a whole. The film is visually striking, capturing the beauty and devastation of Beirut during a turbulent period in its history.

The performances of the three lead actors are outstanding, particularly Rampling who delivers a nuanced and deeply human portrayal of a woman struggling to come to terms with her own mortality. Ustinov provides much of the film's comic relief, but also brings a sense of pathos to his character as a man caught up in his own fantasies about the world around him.

Overall, The Purple Taxi is an intelligent and thought-provoking film that explores timeless themes of identity, survival, and human connection. It is a powerful reminder of the enduring impact of political unrest on ordinary people, and the importance of empathy and understanding in times of crisis.

The Purple Taxi
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (641)