Jafar Pahani: Taxi Teheran

 

The French poster for the film catches perfectly the sweet, light and unpretentious atmosphere of the latest work made by a director, who lives under a berufsverbot from the state he lives in: he is not allowed to make films, he is not allowed to leave the country. And it introduces the characters, or should I say: The teacher who argues with the man (third from the right), who has quite strong opinions on what should be done to criminals. The little man who sells films on dvd even those that are not finished yet (!), the two older ladies who enter with a bowl of goldfish, the niece who wants to make films as her uncle, the taxidriving director Pahani, but has been told by her school teacher, that certain rules have to be followed, the boy who is in her film, but can not be as he ”commits a crime” on camera, and finally the flower-carrying, smiling dissident-colleague to Pahani.

The film starts, Pahani is behind the wheel, he takes the driver’s seat with a camera that can be positioned so it catches what happens outside and inside with the characters entering, those on the poster. It is joyful to watch with small situations that reflect a debate on human rights in Iran, that susperstition lives well among the older generation, that you can get whatever film you want in piracy copies (I experienced that myself back in 2000 when I visited Teheran), that there are rules for what you can film and what not.

Pahani himself, the taxi driving film director, comes out as a mild and generous character – one of the kind of taxi drivers you seldom meet – he listens to the stories that he has created for the film – and makes his job as a film director, who loves his citizens and who lives as they do, coping with the many restrictions.

Iran, 2015, 82 mins.

You can only love that film, that opens theatrically in Copenhagen, Grand Teatret October 1st.     

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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