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Beautiful, beguiling and compelling
A spellbinding animated journey
The Huffington Post
Pari is a single mother selling herself for sex in order to care for her young son Elias, who often accompanies her on tricks. By chance she becomes a judge s kept woman and is given an apartment in a middle-class neighbourhood where she befriends Sara, whose perfect family life is a façade hiding secrets of her own.
The lives of the two women become intertwined with Barbak an aspiring musician frantically trying to raise money for an illegal operation to restore the virginity of the youthful Donya after their one night stand in an underground club. As the stories of sex, drugs and corruption unravel, the unlikely allies push against the restrictions of an oppressive Iranian society and discover their lives are more alike than they think.
Through rotoscoping animation, Tehran Taboo provides an unsparing glimpse into the margins of the modern world.
Drawing Tehran Taboo
Inspiring Tehran Taboo
Making Tehran Taboo
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** Writer and director: Ali Soozandeh
** Soundtrack: Farsi
** Subtitles: English
** Run time: 96 minutes
The movie focuses on the lives of four persons: on one side we have their hopes and their dreams; on the other side we have the tough reality. The director, who lived in Iran until 1995, wants to show the double standards which are prevailing in contemporary Iran.
The issues covered in this movie are controversial and sensitive. This is why it was not made in Iran. This is why the director decided to make an animated movie and not a traditional movie. The method used is known as rotoscope.
Here are the names of the four main characters:
** Pari is a young woman who has a child. She is married, but her husband is in jail. She wants to divorce him, but she cannot get a divorce without his written permission. He says no.
** Sara is a young woman who is pregnant. She wants to have a job as a teacher, but she cannot get a job without a written permission from her husband. He says no.
** Donya is a young woman who wants to have a better life
** Babak is a young man who is an unemployed musician. He wants to record his music, but he cannot get permission to do this, because his music is not approved by the authorities.
I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to say anything about what happens in this drama. If you want to know what happens to the four main characters, you will have to watch the drama all the way to the end.
What do reviewers say about this movie? Here are the results of three review aggregators:
** 70 per cent = IMDb
** 75 per cent = Meta
** 81 per cent = Rotten Tomatoes – the audience
** 95 per cent = Rotten Tomatoes – the critics
As you can see, the ratings are very positive. However, I do not agree with them. If you ask me, this movie is highly overrated. What is wrong with it? Let me explain:
# 1. The pace of this movie is extremely slow. It takes forever to get to the end of the story. Even then, some parts of the plot are left hanging in the air.
# 2. Many of the problems these people have are caused by themselves. They know the rules. They also know that if you break the rules, and if you are caught, you will be in trouble. I am not trying to defend the rules. I am not saying the rules are fair or just. I merely say: if these people were more careful, they would not have so many problems.
# 3. Some of the issues covered in this movie are outdated. On the Roger Ebert website, Godfrey Cheshire writes:
“Iranian friends I’ve talked to about the film have said that it’s somewhat outdated: many of the situations and attitudes it depicts … are things that were prominent 15 or 20 years ago, nearer the time when Soozandeh lived in Iran, but are much different today.”
I wanted to like this movie, but I was disappointed. There are positive and negative elements. Unfortunately, the latter are stronger than the former. There are some flaws, which cannot be ignored; which cannot be overlooked. I have to remove two stars because of them. Therefore I think it deserves a rating of three stars.