Sydney Film Festival – film #4: Tehran Taxi – you’re bleeding all over my cab!

Filmmaker Jafar Panahi has made another underground film despite being banned by Iranian authorities from making any in Iran.

In this reality-film, he sticks a swivel camera on his dashboard and starts out to film a day in the life of a cab driver in Tehran. I’m never quite sure what is scripted and what is not in this film, which keeps it fresh and unpredictable.

There are some very funny moments, even in the face of near death and a bloody trip to the hospital, but the tone and purpose of the film tends to drag and veer off course later in the piece as we are introduced to friends and family and the whole off-the-cuff feel we had with Joe Public becomes something else.

It is painfully slow at times and a bit forced at others. I feel it could have been shortened by 25% and been a more enjoyable experience. By the end, the comedy and freshness of the experiment are lost and I had no idea what was going on.

Here’s to hoping they re-edit the film to give it some life. Having said that, it won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, so WTF do I know.

Grade: 7/10

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