A love letter to the art of cinema, and its endless creative possibilities in the face of political obstacles.
The screening of Taxi is subtitled in Norwegian.
You know something exciting is afoot when legendary film director and rebel Jafar Panahi sits himself at the wheel of a yellow taxi and drives around the bustling streets of Teheran. A small dashboard camera, an iphone and his niece's small digital camera - these simple means are enough for Panahi to defy the authorities' ban on filmmaking for the third time, and win the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival along the way.
A series of tragicomic encounters occur as various figures from all walks of life come in and out of Panahi's taxi: a loudmouthed young man discusses capital punishment with a teacher; an man selling illegal DVDs recognises Panahi and uses him to sell more copies; Panahi's own niece, herself a budding filmmaker, has to make a film for a school project and complains about the Islamic state's religious and social censorship. Panahi - arguably Teheran's worst taxi driver - delivers a wonderfully witty and lively cross section portrait of Iranian society, with his characteristic warmth, humor and acute social and political conscience.
Despite the lightness of the tone, there is a lot of anger simmering under the surface in Taxi. After living under house arrest for several years, Pahahi is now free to move around the country, but is still banned from travelling. He was therefore not able to collect his Golden Bear personnally at the Berlin film festival this year. The film is in many ways conscious of itself, and subtly comments on the relationship between art and reality. Viewers will be left pondering what is real and what is staged in Taxi. But thanks to its widely positive international recognition and its difficult filming conditions, Taxi har already gone down in the history of film. At the end of the day, Taxi is about more than just one man's fight against the long arm of the authorities. It is a love letter to the art of cinema, and its endless creative possibilities in the face of political obstacles.
Jafar Panahi is one of the leading contemporary Iranian filmmakers, winning wide-ranging international recognition and numerous prizes from major festivals for his films The White Balloon (1995), The Circle (2000), Offside (2006), Taxi Tehran (2015) and 3 Women (2018). His films combine neorealist aesthetics with biting humor and social commentary, with notable focus on the situation of Iranian women. Despite being banned from filmmaking by Iranian authorities since 2010 and living under house arrest for periods of time, he has continued making and distributing films. His most recent film, No Bears, premiered at the film festival in Venice this year.
Original title تاکسی (Jafar Panahi's Taxi)
Director Jafar Panahi
Screenplay Jafar Panahi
Cinematography Jafar Panahi
Producer Jafar Panahi
Cast Jafar Panahi, Hana Saeidi
Production Company Jafar Panahi Film Productions
Runtime 1h 22m
Age limit 9