Opening 23 Jul 2015
Jafar Panahi wrote, directed and acted in Taxi. Iranian Panahi is banned from film making by his own government due to his political views. Therefore, this film was smuggled out of Iran in order to show at the 2015 Berlinale. He creatively uses a taxi as a perfect prop to convey the political injustices which are occurring on an everyday basis in Iran. Two cameras were mounted in his taxi, one on the front dash board and one on the back of the passenger’s seat next to the driver. Two mobile phones and an iPad play a role in the film. He even had a camera on the street filming a wedding where strange events took place. Each camera acted as a witness to these different events and added yet another layer of political statements to the film.With each new customer comes a new story, which grows and winds between the lives of these ordinary people as the taxi makes its way through the city. It touches upon thieves, teachers, couples and family members who all struggle to understand the obstacles that they have to overcome in order to survive under this oppressive government.
Panahi began film making in 1988 and showed a film at the 2014 Berlinale called Closed Curtain which was even more complicated to understand but dealt with the same topic as Taxi. However, this year he opted for a more-in-your-face storyline which reached the audience in a very confrontational way. It made it perfectly clear what is going on politically in Iran from the maker/taxi driver’s point of view. I (and my Turkish taxi driver in Berlin) have put this film on our must-see film lists. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)