Tehran Taboo (NR)
As such, Iranian-born Soozandeh shot his cast against a green screen in Germany -- where he lives in exile, another barrier to location shooting -- and rotoscoped them into an animated vision of the Iranian capital. Tehran Taboo would almost be too bleak had it been shot as a live-action film, exploring as it does the extreme sexual hypocrisies of the modern Islamic Republic of Iran — and, by extension, all conservative patriarchies.
Soozandeh wastes no time establishing both the hypocrisy of the devout in Iran (or America, or Gilead) and his Short Cuts-ian tapestry of characters: In the opening scene, prostitute Pari (Elmira Rafizadeh) goes down on a cabbie (Farhad Payar) after giving the money to her mute son Elias (Bilal Yasar) in the backseat. The driver sees his daughter walking down the street holding a man's hand. The driver becomes so overcome with rage at his daughter's impropriety -- again, while he is getting blown by a prostitute whose son is in the backseat -- that he crashes the taxi.
Other stories involve marriage and divorce. The quest to either sew up a hymen or purchase a passably fake one before a wedding gets treated as just a normal thing that normal people do in a morally righteous country that -- and this is going to sound cuckoo-bananas, but roll with me here -- may not be quite as concerned with maintaining women's morality as it is with protecting men's frail egos.