Dir. Jafar Panahi. 2015. 82 mins. Digital projection. The third film the great Iranian director has made since being arrested, imprisoned, and banned from making movies for twenty years, Taxi is an expansive road movie in the best tradition of the genre, even though by necessity it travels in circles. Via a dash-mounted camera, Panahi films himself picking up seemingly random passengers off of the streets of Tehran. Like previous projects This Is Not A Film and Closed Curtain, it is a crafty, surveillance-like work-around of the no-film ban. Yet there’s a well-sketched design to what transpires, from a dramatic scramble to take a wounded man to the hospital, to the director’s convivial rapport with a DVD bootlegger on the make, along with humor and subtle wisdom to spare. Nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors Heterodox Award, recognizing fiction films that incorporate nonfictional strategies.
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