|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 86 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
For the celebrated Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi his work is a vocation and his art an important tool to raise his voice against oppression and injustice. It's caused him a lot of trouble in the past. A prison sentence and a 20-year ban on working, leaving and interviewing due to "propaganda against the system" have already been imposed. But that doesn't stop Panahi from making more films and carrying his message out into the world. With "Taxi Teheran" he wants to draw a loving portrait of his homeland and its people, but of course he doesn't spare any system criticism. The finished film was then smuggled to Germany, where it immediately won the Golden Bear for the best film at the 65th Berlinale.
If a filmmaker reveals such commitment and such a great passion for his art and his film also reveals a lightness that comes as a complete surprise in view of the difficult circumstances, then one must of course shower such a work and its creator with praise. So it's no wonder that the critics are overturning and that there are only positive voices about "Taxi Teheran". Of course, this should also be appreciated. For even if the political aspect plays a role in the assessment, it cannot be held entirely responsible for the many hymns of praise. Nevertheless, for several reasons it is difficult for me to join the general enthusiasm for this film.
On the one hand, there are the individual little episodes that make up this taxi ride through Tehran. Whether a fan of the filmmaker who illegally deals with films and series banned in Iran, from Woody Allen to "Walking Dead"Whether the filmmaker's niece wants to make Panahi his accomplice, or a woman worries about her husband, who was injured in an accident, only to then worry more about her financial future, or whether she wants to realize her own short film project for the school from the passenger seat - it is already a colorful kaleidoscope of characters being driven through Tehran by taxi. And as amusing or charming as most of these people may be, their storylines are too often unnecessarily drawn out. What starts out very nice and also entertaining, at some point only seems annoying and with all the knowledge about the political explosiveness somehow irrelevant. Moreover, the concept is not new, as it strongly reminds of the reality show "Taxicab Confessions" or the wonderful parody that comedian Chris Rock once staged for his HBO show. To praise Panahis style as especially original and unadulterated is therefore in my eyes an exaggeration.
Another problem is the handling of Jafar Panahi himself. The passengers point out a bit too often what a great filmmaker he is. Even if he is indeed an important artist with great talent for many of his fellow countrymen, the whole thing does not seem self-ironic, as perhaps intended, but tastes a little too much like self-adulation. Surely those who want to see a look at Iran beyond the current negative clichés without concealing or glossing over the country's problems will perhaps recognize in "Taxi Teheran" the masterpiece that most critics see in the Berlinale winner. But those who hope for entertainment in the classical sense, or at least for really thrilling conversations, might not only be bored by this taxi ride, but even annoyed. Therefore there is only with reservations here a cautious: Worth seeing!
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