Ali Soozandeh’s Tehran Taboo opens February 14, 2018 at Film Forum in NYC before expanding to select cities.
In this gorgeously animated drama, the lives of several strong-willed women and a young musician intersect. Their stories reveal the hypocrisies of modern Iranian society, where sex, drugs, and corruption coexist with strict religious law. In the bustling metropolis of Tehran, avoiding prohibitions has become an everyday sport and breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. Nevertheless, women invariably end up on the bottom rung of the social order.
A young woman needs an operation to “restore” her virginity. A judge in the Islamic Revolutionary Court exhorts favors from a prostitute in exchange for a favorable ruling. The wife of an imprisoned drug addict is denied the divorce she needs in order to live independently. Making use of rotoscope animation, expat Iranian filmmaker Ali Soozandeh creates a portrait of contemporary Tehran that would be impossible by any other means.
Blending multiple narratives into a complex picture of contemporary life in Iran’s most populous city, TEHRAN TABOO follows a young woman in need of an operation to “restore” her virginity; a divorce judge (in the Islamic Revolutionary Court) who extorts favors from a prostitute; a pregnant woman desperate to work for a living so she may live independently; and young women (purportedly virgins) being sold to Dubai for large sums of money.
The result is a complicated portrait of a social order in which women are at the bottom rung of a ladder built on religion, the law, and plain old misogyny.