Want to know any country, city or geographic unit? Take a look at its transportation. Mobility is a necessity in every corner of this planet. Particularly in urban areas, it is through transportation where one can gauge the pulse of a society.
This is particularly apparent in “Taxi” from Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director still technically banned from making films for decades. Through hidden cameras, he traverses Tehran, garnering different perspectives from each of his many passengers as he goes. Even in just 80 minutes, he manages to jam the film full of potent commentary on everything from gender dynamics to cultural isolation and even the state of film distribution.
This verité-fiction hybrid proves a far more intriguing artistic gambit than his anti-film “This Is Not A Film,” a fairly obvious and pointed jab at his then-recent filmmaking ban. “Taxi” offers up an equally defiant middle finger to the regime without resorting to obvious polemic. This observational landscape film both acknowledges the harsh climate in which he must illicitly make art and agilely navigates it. B+ /