This movie is about a filmmaker in Iran that is banned by the government from making movies. He makes "Taxi" by constructing a documentary-like narrative about himself as a taxi driver and his interactions with the people come in and out of his cab as he drives around Tehran.
I found this movie to be a real delight--full of surprises and pleasures. I think of Panahi as the Ai Wei Wei of Iran, though maybe not quite as comprehensive in his outlook. One question--I've read many reviews, but still don't understand if the taxi riders are actors or if this is a documentary--which? I don't quite imagine the parts would all fit together so well unless scripted, especially the ending. And the feel is that of totally natural unrehearsed interactions.
Jafar Panahi is forbidden by Iran to make films so he sets up a camera in a taxi and drives around Tehran and the camera "illegally" films himself and passengers with whom he discusses life in Tehran including suppression by the ultra conservative government. “Taxi” won the Golden Bear award for best film submitted to the Berlin Film Festival. One of Panahi’s previous “illegal” films was shipped out of Iran hidden in a cake (entitled “this is not a film”). Panahi has spent time in prison for his films, but you wouldn’t know it as he appears quite amiable in this film.
Patron Pol has it right on the money. Taxi is a wonderful film that had to pass the Iranian censors. This is strict censorship, but with humor, director Jafar Panahi cleverly shows us the way his people live. It is a cab ride with no two passengers even closely alike. Each brings his own values and personality to the movie. I have put on hold other Panahi movies, he certainly is a clever director.
A wonderful and clever little film. Some people just refuse to be told what to do, all while snickering about it and adding a little playful meta humor to it for style. Not the best first Panahi film to see of course, so at least read up on him if you haven't seen any of his other works.
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