Tehran Taboo (2017) [WEBRip] [720p] [YTS.AM]


“Tehran Taboo” is an Austrian/German co-production from this year (2017) and this is the most known career effort so far by writer and director Ali Soozandeh. Given the subject, I am not surprised at all that this film that runs for slightly over 1.5 hours has managed to score some awards attention already, also in Cannes. This is about life in the Iranian capital of Tehran in the present and it’s a really dark and shocking depiction. Oh yeah, I also need to say that this movie is animated from start to finish. The focus here is on a group of people and their (not so) every day life. We have a mother working as a prostitute who tries to get his mute son a normal life, but obstacles from school and authorities make it hard for her. We have a pregnant woman whose man cheats on her and who has had several miscarriages already. We have an aspiring musician who takes a girl’s virginity and tries his best to make it possible for her to have an operation that won’t let her fiancé find out about what happened.

One of the film’s strengths is that it does really well in terms of shades. Even as these characters I just described may be ahead of their country’s limited progress in terms of equality, they still are far from perfect. That phone joke basically costs the innocent woman her life. The young guy made the girl drunk, drugged her even. The girl lied about the real reason for the operation. Even the little boy causes severe damage by telling the old man where to find the candy. They may not be rotten or evil or anything, but they are all far from angels. The bearded man is the best example of how the country keeps the progressive ones on the leash. He gives the woman the apartment, he gives her some money, but he also does not give her the documents/signatures she needs although it is his job to do so. And in the end what he does to her is close to rape showing us that he will always be the one in charge. That’s a nice metaphor and the film has others too that work pretty well like the recurring themes of the lights up there that are explained in the final scene or the kittens or the photographer etc. From that perspective, the movie really has a lot to offer.

Overall, it is definitely among the best animated films I have seen from 2017. Unsurprisingly though, it will not be a contender at the Oscars in the Animated Feature category. A bit of a shame as I could have seen it make some waves. Of course with all the violence and sex, it is an animated film exclusively for grown-ups (not an adult film though obviously). I am not surprised the director worked on The Green Wave as an animator. To me the film seemed a bit similar to Waltz with Bashir in terms of the overall contents, but also in terms of the atmosphere, even if war does not really play a big role in here. Finally, to end the review on a positive note, I would like to say that the ways in which the younger generation is depicted here offers room for hope that things could turn better in the next 50 years. We’ll see if they will. Still its depiction of brutal reality would get the movie banned within an instant in Iran I am sure. It’s a very depressing watch and it should also have us question the dominant religion and its approach to female rights in particular. They are treated worse than animals frequently to be honest and we should keep that in mind the next time we complain about sexism here in the Western World. Over there is where things are really rotten. But I am not surprised that Soozandeh did not make faith a crucial component of this film. It fits in well with the general approach these days when it comes to looking away and over-the-top tolerance. Anyway, enough of that. I recommend the watch of course. This was a very intelligent and important movie. If you like stuff like the aforementioned Walth with Bashir or Panahi’s Taxi, then see this one here too.


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