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Tehran Taboo (2017)

Teheran Tabu (original title)
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In their desperate search for freedom and happiness, four young people from Tehran, Iran are forced to break the taboos of a restrictive, islamic society.


Ali Soozandeh


Ali Soozandeh, Grit Kienzlen (co-writer)
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jasmina Ali Jasmina Ali ... Amirs Girlfriend, School Official
Hasan Ali Mete Hasan Ali Mete ... Judge
Zahra Amir Ebrahimi ... Sara (as Zar Amir Ebrahimi)
Milinko Ametovic Beganovic Milinko Ametovic Beganovic ... Boy on the motorcycle (as Paul Basonga)
Alireza Bayram ... Mohsen
Siir Eloglu ... Schwiegermutter
Adem Karaduman Adem Karaduman ... Mohsens Colleague
Morteza Latif Morteza Latif ... Studio Owner
Aida Loos Aida Loos ... Gynecologist
Payam Madjlessi Payam Madjlessi ... Ahmad / Punter / Basiji 1
Arash Marandi ... Babak
Thomas Nash ... Joseph
Negar Mona Alizadeh Negar Mona Alizadeh ... Donya
Klaus Ofczarek Klaus Ofczarek ... Father-in-Law
Farhad Payar Farhad Payar ... Taxidriver, Counterfeiter


In this gorgeously animated drama, the lives of several strong-willed women and a young musician intersect. Their stories reveal the hypocrisies of modern Iranian society, where sex, drugs, and corruption coexist with strict religious law. In the bustling metropolis of Tehran, avoiding prohibitions has become an everyday sport and breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. Nevertheless, women invariably end up on the bottom rung of the social order. A young woman needs an operation to "restore" her virginity. A judge in the Islamic Revolutionary Court exhorts favors from a prostitute in exchange for a favorable ruling. The wife of an imprisoned drug addict is denied the divorce she needs in order to live independently. Making use of rotoscope animation, expat Iranian filmmaker Ali Soozandeh creates a portrait of contemporary Tehran that would be impossible by any other means. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Drama


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Germany | Austria



Release Date:

16 November 2017 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Téhéran tabou See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$74,758, 17 May 2018
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ali Soozandeh's directorial film debut. See more »

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User Reviews

A Thought-Provoking Portrait Of Life In Contemporary Iran
14 August 2018 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Exposing the hypocrisy & double standards of men, especially when it comes to matters of sex, Tehran Taboo captures how patriarchy plays an important role in subduing almost every aspect of women's lives and how religion is nothing but a charade used by men to impose their close-minded beliefs.

Tehran Taboo interweaves three storylines. The first follows a prostitute trying to earn a living to raise her kid. The second concerns her pregnant neighbour who is seeking work against her husband's wishes. And third subplot is about an aspiring musician whose latest sexual encounter results in an unexpected problem.

Written & directed by Ali Soozandeh, the film employs rotoscoping animation technique to bring its tale to life as filming in real locations would've been a high-risk endeavour. But the director succeeds in painting a gripping portrait of life in contemporary Iran where path to freedom & happiness involves breaking societal taboos on a daily basis.

Although the characters are believable and their predicament is relatable, the film is more interested in the bigger picture than their individual lives. It attacks these existing norms in a blunt fashion, questioning its relevance in today's world, and is unfazed in its depiction of sex, adultery, corruption, prostitution & sex coexisting within a stern religious system.

Combining live-action with animation, the rotoscoping process gives the images a rich, lifelike appearance, which is all the more uplifted by fluid camerawork & apt lighting. Coming to the performances, everyone chips in with fabulous inputs but it's Elmira Rafizadeh who leaves the most lasting impression with her wonderfully layered & expertly rendered act.

While the strict, restrictive & regressive Islamic setting does magnify the unfair treatment of women in a society such as this, the narrow minded thinking isn't exclusive to this particular demographic, for it has its origins in the patriarchal hierarchy that allows the men in power to dictate how women should live their lives and what roles they must play.

Religion comes into this as another added layer of conformity, acting as a weapon to further exploit people by keeping their desires in check while serving as a dead end to discussions that challenges these age-old beliefs. Soozandeh also lays bare the hypocrisy surrounding sex in conservative society, showing religion to be the first thing to go when it comes to pleasures of the flesh.

On an overall scale, Tehran Taboo is a brilliantly directed, beautifully animated & strongly acted cinema that explores sexual & gender double standards in modern Iran, resulting from its strict religious codes, and is a cry for a long overdue social, cultural & political change. An essential viewing that deserves a broader audience, Tehran Taboo is heavy-handed at times but its thought-provoking themes strike a chord that transcends borders.

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