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Operating somewhere between fact and fiction, Jafar Panahi’s Berlin Golden Bear winning film is a daring, but playful survey of contemporary Tehran, as passengers come and go in a cab driven by the filmmaker himself.

Paradoxically, since the Iranian government banned him from filmmaking back in 2010, Panahi has emerged as one of the country’s most interesting and essential filmmakers. In this—his third film since the official government sanction on his work—Panahi hides in plain sight, so to speak, filming his latest as he drives around Tehran. His passengers consist of non-actors who nonetheless definitely appear to be playing roles. From the strangers arguing about capital punishment to the DVD bootlegger who recognizes the famed filmmaker underneath his cabbie cap, the fares may be casual in their demeanors and convincingly naturalistic, but their dialogue, filled with observations about living in Iran and sly references to Iranian cinema, is too pointed to be complete happenstance. Breezily entertaining and often suprisingly hilarious, Taxi may posit Panahi as a mediocre cab driver with a poor sense of direction, but it reinforces his reputation as a filmmaker of great skill and conviction.

DIRECTOR: Jafar Panahi
YEAR: 2015
LENGTH: 82 min
Thursday, October 29

6:55pm EDT