Filmmaker Panahi drives a taxi around the streets of Tehran, picking up strangers, friends and family members, recording it all with a dashboard camera. Sometimes he charges a fare and sometimes he doesn’t. At one point, when he’s running late for another commitment, he hails another cab to take the surprised passengers on to their destination. Conversations range from the casual to the provocative, from homework assignments to Sharia law. But each exchange casts a probing light on the realities of life in Iran.
In 2010 Panahi was banned from filmmaking for 20 years by Iran’s Revolutionary Court, yet amazingly he continues to be a forceful cinematic voice with his shot on the sly “home movies”. Here, a seemingly random collection of Tehran residents chatting with their driver is actually a pointed snub at authoritarian rule, especially the government’s arcane, oppressive rules of filmmaking censorship. Self-reflexive and self-aware, Panahi’s award-winning production holds a mirror up to society and proves that creative genius will thrive despite-and even because of- efforts to thwart it.