The same movie producer transforming four wheels into a space for private disclosure and account test while Mania Akbari arranges the activity gagged capital in 10 (2002). The green games auto on the keep running from the powers as Rafi Pitts invokes uncommon pictures of social contact in The Hunter (2010). You could practically develop a little history of late Iranian cinema from individuals in their cars. Those battered cantinas jumbling scenes attacked and glorious to dreamlike impact in Abbas Kiarostami’s Life, and Nothing More… (1992) and The Wind Will Carry Us (1999).
Now writer-director Jafar Panahi himself takes to the driver’s seat in Taxi Tehran, the third feature he’s made under semi-clandestine conditions in defiance of the court order banning him from filmmaking for 20 years. As with its evident model 10, the action here is largely viewed from the perspective of a dash-mounted camera looking in rather than out, discreetly registering the ebb and flow of a cabbie’s typical day and allowing Panahi to present an apparent slice of life that becomes a personal rumination on the status of the moving image within the challenging context of Iranian state control.
Broadly, that simultaneity of public and private realms, being out and about in the city (or country) yet still sheltered enough to be able to speak your mind, is what the setting of the car has afforded all these filmmakers, bringing with it the implication that once you step outside the vehicle you’re in an environment where words and behaviour must be kept within strictly defined and policed parameters.
His six-year prison sentence could, in theory, come into effect at any moment, yet in practice it’s obvious that restrictions on his movements have been relaxed, even if foreign travel remains out of the question. So where Panahi’s previous post-conviction titles This Is Not a Film (2011) and Closed Curtain (2013) dealt with the very particular conundrum of how he could possibly continue to make films while under a filmmaking ban, the focus in Taxi Tehran widens considerably as he and his camera make it out of his front door and on to the streets.