For Reel

Taxi (2015)
February 9, 2016, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jafar Panahi
4 Stars
TaxiThe third consecutive film that Jafar Panahi has made in defiance of Iranian authorities is ironically his most freeing, stepping outside of the home that served as the setting for This Is Not a Film and Closed Curtain and into a cab traveling the streets of Tehran. Panahi himself is on camera for most of the film, and his facial expressions read quiet bemusement even when confronted with dire circumstances. If This Is Not a Film was a film of sadness and anger, Taxi shows a filmmaker who has not only reconciled with his fate, but now knows how to play the game. Amongst his arguments against the hypocrisy of his imposed censorship is that everyone in Iran is a filmmaker–whether that be a man having videographic evidence of an atrocity being committed to him or a woman asking to have her dying husband’s last will read on an iPhone. Ever the meta-filmmaker, Panahi unpacks the increasingly tenuous distinction between reality and film, suggesting the impossibility of barring what the government calls “sordid reality” in the 21st century. When an old acquaintance enters the cab, discusses the state of Iran, and teases Panahi that he will have to delete the footage, the scene serves as an act of filmic defiance and as a means of demonstrating how these types of conversations often happen in supposedly “private” spaces, with the taxi (loaded with a dashcam) serving as the thin demarcation that separates public from private.

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