Taxi (20115) by Jafar Panahi

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DIY Punk Cinema

It is with great honor that I am happy to report that New Wave cinema is alive and well in Iran. The vague and nebulous cinematic movement first emerged in France in the late 60’s, and due to relentless marketing and the star power of some of its actresses keeps influencing the world over.

Truth is, it was merely a bratty movement spearheaded by opportunistic directors with questionable politic$. If there ever was a profound poetry ingrained in some of that emulsion, I have failed to see it. But in the wide-ranging pool of cinematic history, which seems to be as mutable as underground rock styles, the Nouvelle Vague stands tall at high tide. Some of the Japanese riffs are worth viewing, and Kiarostami’s “Close-Up” has been described as Godardian, but for my money, it’s all a game show with comedic sketches, not unlike an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Unfortunately, this is today’s currency, so here goes.

Jafar Panahi keeps churning out festival-winning movies one after the other despite his supposed ‘lockdown’ by the State on his productions. So when no bank will loan you the millions needed for another dreary slice of life drama, you go Dogma.

Dogma is the no-frills low-budget digital independent cinema movement started by one Scandinivian in the mid-nineties. It is of course, a riff on Nouvelle Vague, and it is responsible for some of the worst long-form movie experiences marketed this side of the Western world. But, since this is today’s currency, here goes.

What makes Taxi good, is its directness and economy. Shorter than most features, but straight to the point. And what is that point? The complexity of morality, and the individual’s compulsion to judge.  Film school level stuff, maybe, but done greatly I presume.

There was one moment, where a dying man requests an iPhone to record his will. It shone through as an example of family love and great social cohesion, not of the Western kind. That really did it for me.

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Categories: Notes

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