Jafar Panahi’s Taxi

Iranian film director Jafar Panahi has been banned from making film in Iran. Panahi was arrested in 2010 along with his wife, daughter, and 15 friends, charged with propaganda against the Iranian government and sentenced to a six-year jail term and a 20-year ban on directing any movies. But he does it anyway, and then smuggles them to film festivals. Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, for instance, was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear. Taxi is a documentary-like, absurdist comedy. It was shot entirely in a taxi. A security camera has been put on the dashboard. The camera can be turned around 360 degrees and can be pointed in any direction. And Panahi is playing himself, a film director who has become a taxi driver. A diverse collection of topics are approached when several passengers come to take a seat into his cab. A man selling illegal DVDs of American films or TV shows (like The walking dead) recognizes Panahi and can’t stop saying how much he admires Panahi’s film. An injured man is put into the backseat with is wife screaming to bring him to the hospital. His last will are filmed on a cell phone. When two women get in the taxi with a fishbowl, with the water and the fishes still in the bowl, accidents are bound to happen. Then Panahi’s niece, Hana Saeidi, a young school pupil, come to seek help from her uncle. She has to nake a film as a school project, and has brought her digital camera. Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is about the love of movies, no matter if they’re made on a cell phone or a small digital camera, or in a taxi cab. The last image of the film proves that Panahi can bring a touch of magic into any film in the simplest way. When the DVD smuggler asks him what he considers is a good film, Panahi answers that all films are good. Indeed.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi

82 min.

Rated Parental Guidance

In Persian with English subtitles

 

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