TIFF 15 Review: Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (2015) ★★★★★

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF
Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

How many of you can make a film when you’re not permitted to make one? How many of you can take a camera and film, while the entire country watches you? Certainly, being feared for your freedom or even life, some of us would stay a mile away from not only the camera, but from anything that might remind of it. But when you have an imaginative mind and ability to find a way to do what you love, nothing will stop you, not even a censored country. What we see in Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is a living proof that nothing is impossible. What he does is something so remarkable that it will make you see Iran and its people the way you would never see in local news….

Jafar Panahi invites the viewer, right from the beginning, to his yellow cab where he pretends to be a taxi driver to film the vibrant city of Tehran. While he sits behind the wheel, he picks up various passengers who share with him their vision of the world. One will tell that a teacher lives a life of fiction with no clue what’s going on in the real world. Another passenger will add later on that a man who robbed him looks no different from other people and that he has no desire to see him being executed for stealing a few Rials in order to feed his family.

As Panahi is driving his cab, we find a woman passenger who adds that increasing the amount of executions will not solve the problem, because its core is much bigger than it appears. A devastated woman will demand the recorded video of will of her injured husband to keep as a proof in case he changes his mind. All these and many other little details you will be able to find out through intelligent people who, despite everything, do not mind to have an open conversation with a taxi driver.

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is a brilliant film by all means. Within an hour and half you will find out more about Iran than you could have ever heard in your entire life. While Panahi drives the car, we get a chance not only to know his passengers better, but also stare at the vibrant streets of Tehran that live their own life, apart from those who touch the ground of the city. With no further ado, if there’s a film you’re thinking to add to your must-watch-list, then Jafar Panahi’s Taxi should undoubtedly be your first choice.


THU SEP 17, 5:00 PM
Elgin/​Winter Garden Theatres Winter Garden Theatre – SUBTITLED
SAT SEP 19, 3:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1 – SUBTITLED 
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