KOCHI: Iranian film ‘Taxi’, written, directed and produced by Jafar Panahi, who has also essayed the central character of the cabbie,on Wednesday,premiered at the ongoing All Lights India International Film Festival (ALIIFF) here. And the movie which won several awards, including the coveted Golden Bear prize at Berlin International Film Festival could be named as the one that defined ALIIFF not just for one aspect but for its completeness in all means.
In one of the scenes, a woman clad in a burqa argues with a fellow passenger in a taxi over the futility of executions and asks the big question, “Did executions curtail crimes”?
The woman represents liberals in Iran. The co-passenger ridicules her as one “who reads a lot”, for she supports those seeking freedom. The taxi moves with the present situation in the Shia nation and each passenger ends the journey unfinished. The movie is unique in that a taxi is its only location, which moves around the city with passengers, each of whom are in a mould of their own. They comprise the young, old, orthodox, liberal, poor, rich and human rights activists, who were deserted even by their colleagues for championing the rights issue -- a microcosm of Iranian society.
“They cook up cases claiming that we are moles of intelligence agencies. To strengthen the case, they come up with a morality charge. When we come out of jail, our best friends would be our worst enemies. And from that moment onwards we would want to leave the county or go back to jail,” says a human rights activist in the movie, which underlines how freedom is muzzled in the Islamic Republic. The curtain will come down on ALIIFF on Thursday. Other than a documentary workshop and a valedictory function at Gokulam Park here at 6 pm, there will be no screening of the movies on concluding day. ‘Taxi’ will also be shown at the forthcoming International Film Festival of Kerala to be held in Thiruvananthapuram next month.
In fact, Panahi made the movie while facing a 20-year ban on movie making, which is still in force. However, he had hogged the headlines with his comment “nothing can prevent me from making films”, even as ‘Taxi’ was released. The acclaimed filmmaker’s oeuvre also includes ‘This is not a Film’ and ‘Closed Curtain’. While they were shot in extreme secrecy in Panahi’s apartment and in a private house. ‘Taxi’ was filmed on the streets of Tehran, albeit from inside the cab.
Film FestIVAL grand finale Today
Kochi: Curtains will come down for Kochi’s own All Lights India International Film Festival on Thursday. As many as 131 movies from 34 countries were showcased as part of the festival in 8 categories. Some of the movies that were received well by the audience are ‘Taandro’ from Nepal, ‘Seven Ravens’ from Czech Republic, Emily Watchel’s ‘Lucky Them’ in the women’s section, ‘Baabar Naam Gandhi’ in the Cinema for Children category. Dr Biju Damodaran’s movie ‘Valiya Chirakulla Pakshi’ and ‘Walking Mind’ in the Cinema for Care Section were also received well by the audience. A red carpet is being organised as the grand finale of the festival on Thursday at 5 pm at Gokulam Park Inn in which the who’s who of Mollywood and other brand ambassadors of the festival will participate. The red carpet will be followed by the Awards Ceremony at 6pm. Golden Frame Awards will be presented to the winners.