It's been months since Jafar Panahi, stuck in jail, has been awaiting a verdict by the appeals court. By depicting a day in his life, Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb try to portray the deprivations looming in contemporary Iranian cinema.
In a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a ... See full summary »
When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, ... See full summary »
Mina Mohammad Khani,
Three actresses at different stages of their career. One from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, one popular star of today known throughout the country and a young girl longing to attend a drama conservatory.
When you are a filmmaker and you are not allowed to direct movies any more, you have to retrain. So why not become a taxi driver? Or better, why not pretend you are a taxi driver and make a film despite everything? This is what Jafar Panahi has done. Now he invites you to get into his cab for the price of a cinema ticket, to ride through the streets of Tehran and discover its people in the persons of his various passengers.Written by
This film uses a similar concept and technique as Abbas Kiarostami's acclaimed Ten (2002), which was shot on two digital cameras attached to a car. Kiarostami's film followed a woman driving around Tehran with various passengers and explored social issues around the role of women. See more »
Those films are already made, those books are already written. You have to look elsewhere, you have to find it for yourself.
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A daring tribute to film-making in difficult times/places
The genre of films made in or about taxis has already produced some masterpieces: Taxi Lisboa" (1970) and Night on Earth" (1991). Now Jafar Panahi, living in Tehran, has made a very important film that gives us Westerners a glimpse of what it is like to live in the Iranian capital nowadays. This is already his third movie that he made unlicensed and undercover. In 2010 he was imposed a 20 years' ban on producing films, is not allowed to leave the country and was put into prison. Iranian film-making is of two kinds, Panahi mused: local films for the public in Iran, heavily censored and films produced with the idea in mind to participate in international film festivals. He was awarded the Berlin Golden Bear this year. Viewing this film one feels really disconcerted by the director's taxi driving- and-filming stunt, his composed feature and the chaotic lives that passengers bring with them into the cab. Tehran has 12-15m inhabitants, with urban transport being chronically difficult. There are buses and taxis, but an underground system is still under construction. Taxis then are an obvious choice for the setting of an under- ground" movie that discusses Iranian lives and hopes for a better future. The main theme of the film is how one can live in a society where strict laws are enforced about many things that seem to us unimportant or even trivial: A woman going to a basket ball game may be harassed and even arrested. It is the women characters then who make some very strong statements in the film. There is a lawyer and human rights activist, a friend of Panahi's, who was herself punished with a prison sentence, but pursues in her activities. Then the heroine of the film: supposedly Panahi's niece, a very bright school-girl who films street scenes and the director/taxi- driver/uncle with her i-Phone, is learning about film-making that can be shown" in Iran, i.e. that would pass censorship. Life in a society that is strictly controlled by guards and police, laws that seem hard or impossible to be observed finds loopholes and the open question is how much Iran's government really is in control. But then of course the enforcement of laws may be random or imposed rather on the poorer levels of society.
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