A film with a very simple premise. I began watching the first scene and after the conversation the self-proclaimed pickpocket has with the teacher, I got hooked.
Taxi is about a banned filmmaker recording footages of his passengers, with what intention we are never told.
The film has its own rhythm. You begin to warm up to the characters slowly. Every single one of the variety of characters seem relatable.
Although the purpose of the film is made explicit in several scenes I did not have a problem with it. For example, the scene of Panahi’s niece reading the rules for making a “broadcastable” film, the scene of the activist placing a rose in front of the camera etc. felt staged and yet did not feel preachy in any way.
Panahi’s advice to his niece as well as to the other aspiring short filmmaker to find subjects around them seems sound. I liked how the recordings made on a phone and on his niece’s camera weave into the overall film.
The scene of the niece “directing” real life and asking the ragpicker to return the stolen money is easily the best portion of the film. When the kid heads towards the car, there are multiple outcomes that played in my mind. He’ll get rewarded, he’ll get scolded, he’ll get beaten up etc. But he ends up getting ignored completely and that totally pisses off the little girl. As she winds up the car window the audience is left wondering what exactly is her anger directed at. And we’re left wondering since she does not wish to talk about it either.
This is yet another film that goes to show that no fancy gimmicks of the camera or editing are required to make a film watchable. All you need is a static camera and actors who can perform. That’s the other biggest plus of this film. There are several moments when you wonder if the people are real or having scripted conversations. Perhaps they were just given rough briefs of some points they need to hit and then onwards it was just improvisation.
And no background score throughout. There’s music at the beginning and at the end. Why do you need to add it if it’s not required?