Iranian movie night: Tehran Taboo (Ali Soozandeh, 2017)

Sunday August 22nd, 2021, Iranian movie night: Tehran Taboo (2017) by Ali Soozandeh. 96 minutes, english subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30. Free admission.

In this multi-stranded rotoscoped narrative, crackling with tension and bleak comedy, musicians and prostitutes find ways around the strict laws of their country.
“Saying ‘no’ is more important than breathing in Tehran,” one character in this impressive debut feature by writer-director Ali Soozandeh advises another who has gotten in trouble through a failure to abstain. In this criss-crossing, multi-stranded narrative, various denizens of Iran’s capital city are seen bending, fracturing and sometimes decisively shattering the strict laws of the land – particularly where it comes to sex, drugs and general submission to the patriarchy.
Soozandeh has cleverly worked around the problem not just by living abroad but through the unusual way the film is made: the movie is technically a work of animation. Like Waltz With Bashir or A Scanner Darkly, it’s made with a contemporary, computer-assisted version of what was once called rotoscoping, whereby filmed material is traced over to produce a drawn image that matches the live-action frame for frame. The result offers deniability to the participating actors. But more importantly, it creates a remarkable visual texture, hyper-realistic in terms of movement and expression but also stylised with simplified fields of colour.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to screen a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net