Cert: TBC Runtime: 90 mins Director: Ali Soozandeh Cast: Elvira Rafizandela, Bital Yasar, Zahara Amir, Arash Marandi and Neyar Mana Alizadeh
As part of the Critics Week at Cannes Tehran Taboo grabbed my attention from the get go. This is Ali Soozandeh’s debut feature film a German-Iranian director that wanted to show the dark underbelly of Tehran. Due to the restrictions of filming in Tehran, Soozandeh took the ambitious road of filming in rotoscope and animating his feature. So what is Tehran Taboo about? Three self-confident women and a young musician, whose lives cross in the schizophrenic world of the Iranian capital Tehran. Sex, corruption, drugs and prostitution go hand in hand in this seething metropolis with strict religious laws. The avoidance of prohibitions becomes everyday sport and the taboos of individual self-realisation.
Ali Soozandeh has created a visually enthralling feature film. It isn’t as original as I expected you have elements of Waltz with Bashir & Presepolis. The rotoscope was an interesting gamble, due to the restrictions it was the only way to make this film. The rough animation was a nice touch to add the layers of Tehran into the film. It isn’t necessarily effective as you would hope, during tense scenes characters can’t really show visual expressions. It’s a minor flaw but it’s crucial towards the tone of the film. The context of Tehran Taboo may be dark but it’s riddled with humour. It does carry the film to the finish line, in all honesty it has a British dark comedy twist to it. The pacing of the film flows throughout and you would wish it was longer! Ali Soozandeh does bring the issues in Tehran to life for the young there, and it’s a hidden gem in Cannes this year.