A taxi ride through Tehran
This is a taxi ride like no other: Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi made "Taxi" on a shoestring budget. It not only offers a unique and humorous insight into life in Tehran, but also makes a bold political statement. To mark the film's general release in Germany, Qantara.de brings you a series of photos relating to the film and some stills
For years, the films made by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Pahani have been censored by the Iranian authorities. His newest documentary, "Taxi", won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2015 and has just been released in German cinemas.
Tehran by Taxi: "Taxi" is a 90-minute taxi ride through Tehran, the capital of Iran. The director himself is in the driver's seat. His passengers include ordinary people who just want to get from A to B to take care of business, do errands or meet friends. These two woman want to take their goldfish to a funeral.
Prestigious passenger: Panahi doesn't just transport unknown people in his taxi. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a renowned human rights activist and lawyer, also gets on board and speaks her mind. Sotoudeh and Panahi know each other well. They both received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2012.
Respected in Iran: Jafar Panahi refuses to be quieted by the regime and has won a great deal of respect from his fellow Iranians as a result. Here, he is pictured with – and being photographed by – the well-known Iranian actress Roya Teymourian.
A man who is not afraid to speak up: for many years, Jafar Panahi has been considered one of Iran's most significant filmmakers. The director makes the most of his fame by speaking up for improvements in his country. He is pictured here at a demonstration against the war in Gaza by the organisation Mothers for Peace.
International awards: Panahi's work has been honored at numerous international film festivals. He has received prizes in Cannes, Venice and Locarno. His 2015 Golden Bear wasn't his first prize from Berlin. In 2006, he received a Silver Bear for "Offside".
A moving moment: Jafar Panahi couldn't attend the Berlinale himself in February 2015 due to the travel restrictions imposed on him by the Iranian authorities. His niece, 10-year-old Hanna Saeidi, who appears in "Taxi," accepted the Golden Bear on his behalf from jury president Darren Aronofsky and jury member Audrey Tautou.
Empty seat: Pahani has been able to complete three films on a shoestring budget in the past four years. He has not been allowed to give interviews or leave Iran since 2010. Copies of his films have, however, been smuggled out of the country and shown at international film festivals, where they generally get a rapturous reception. As a result, his seat at premieres invariably remains empty, just like here at the Berlinale in 2013.
Artist and activist: Pahani's films became known around the world after he began to suffer censorship in his native country. His films are not only artistic contributions to the world of film; they also make political statements and offer an insight into life in the Islamic Republic of Iran.