Nov 13 - Nov 19, 2015

(Jafar Panahi, 2015, Iran, DCP, 82 min)

Seattle Premiere!

The Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi (This is Not a Film) won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale for his latest film project while living under a filmmaking ban. He stars in as well as directs this taxi ride around Tehran - proving to his government and to the world that he’s the driver.


What a strange thing it is to live in a country where the expression of art is hampered only by the creativity of its creators and patrons. How different, in turn, to see the continuing works of Jafar Panahi, a man whose own country has banned him from filmmaking. The courage it takes to speak when silenced must be respected by those of us with the opportunity to listen.


Taxi, Panahi’s newest feature, is a portrait of Tehran and its people, both in their existence under a totalitarian regime, and the ‘sordid realism’ (as his government condemns it) of their everyday lives. It’s a verite picture that flirts with documentary and fiction, and in the combination tells you much more about Iranians than any headlines or speeches could.


The film’s illegal creation also lends it a stark urgency, unlike anything else you’ll find in cinema. Panahi’s film, exceptionally warm and well-made, is all the more important for its illicit existence. Yet the film’s winning of the Berlin Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Bear was met with condemnation from the Iranian government. Taxi will not be screened in Iran, at least not in the foreseeable future. And yet the film endures. Panahi not only continues to create, but his creations show us some true glimpse of a country and a people shrouded in international condemnation and threats of violence. Panahi lends us a looking glass, risking his own safety to do so. The result is a brilliant film, and an encouraging act for free speech and filmmaking worldwide.





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