REVIEW: Taxi (Jafar Panahi), the latest film under his political censorship


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In 2011, Iranian director Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years in jail and censured to pursue his profession as a director and writer during the next 20 years. That means Panahi was condemned for not making movies. Government considered that Panahi was making propaganda against the State. But any of these court orders have been respected at all. The first one, because Panahi appealed and got house arrest (after paying a guarantee), and the second one, because he decided not to turn off the camera and has made three films since then.

The director has used all his imagination to release their movies around the world. In “This is not a film”, he filmed by using an Iphone and the media well reported how it had been sent to Cannes Film Festival; in a USB inside a cake. In “Closed curtain”, it was helped for his colleague, the also director and actor Kambuzia Partovi to premiere it in Berlin Film Festival. He filmed in his house.

The most recent, Taxi (2015), is a kind of hybrid between documentary and fiction and, of course, he oversteps the restrictions once again and masking as taxi driver who starts filming the passengers. Yes, actually it is a docufiction where has collaborated some friends and non-professional actors, people who recognized him and suspect what he brings in their hands. The energy of this movie is very different to the last two films, where the drama and difficult moments for the sentence were quite evident on this director. It was even mentioned about depression and suicide wish of Panahi.

Here, in Taxi, his little niece Hana Saedi – who traveled to Berlin to received the Gold Bear in the name of her uncle – is a big part of the positive image of Panahi’s emotional status. This movie has as humor as tenderness. Obviously, it is Panahi, so, Taxi doesn’t escape to strong criticism and reflections as a result of conversation between the director and his niece due to the strict rules her school has imposed for her next homework: to make a short film that can be released.

Among the passengers’ stories are noted the revealing story of a woman who has the same situation to this director; she can’t pursue her profession as a lawyer for being a human right activist. Once again, we can see a female figure as victim to whom has been violated her freedom thanks to a repressive politic of a State. For our pleasure, it appears a pirated movies salesman and an older women who want to go a river to release two little fishes.



Some stories are not effective and organic than others, but the power of what is being revealed is bigger. It is absolutely necessary to know the background of this director to appreciate his courage. With this new film the one can concluded that there are two ways to make a social, political or criminal complaint: being strong and vehement or using a subtle way. Taxi is like the second option.

Cast and Crew

  • Director: Jafar Panahi
  • Genre: docu-fiction
  • Running time: 82 minutes
  • Casting: Jafar Panahi, Hana Saeidi
  • Country: Iran
  • Year: 2015

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