CAIRO - 21 August 2017: Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was under horrific circumstances; a sentence of house arrest coupled with a 20-year ban from filmmaking. So he had to think out of the box.
Panahi pretends to be a taxi driver, discusses some local touchy issues with his passengers; who vary from strangers, friends, and a relative. They discuss the death penalty, political prisoners, as well as male-centered inheritance laws. The last passenger talked in details about Ghoncheh Ghavami, the woman who was jailed for attending a volleyball game. And this was all shot with a small camera on the dashboard which was said to be a security device.
‘Taxi,’ produced in 2015, is a clever window into the Iranian society, apart from the headlines we all read every day.
It is amazing how despite working under an official prohibition on filmmaking, ‘Taxi’ won a number of international awards, including the Golden Bear Berlin International Film Festival.
‘Taxi’ is Panahi’s third film under such restrictions. The first one was ‘This Is Not a Film,’ in 2011, a documentary he shot mostly in his house, showing how he lives with the consequences of his sentence. The second was the 2013 drama movie ‘Closed Curtain,’ which he shot in an isolated house with its curtains shut, about the Iranians under siege by the regime.
This is the only recommended documentary in the list that has nothing to do with the Arab world, yet it is an interesting eye-opener that should not be missed.