Ali Soozandeh’s Tehran Taboo is an animated dramatic feature that juggles multiple stories to explore the sexual double-standard behind the hypocrisy of life in contemporary Iran. Living in exile in Germany since age 25, Iranian-born Soozandeh cannily uses animation to solve the problem of not being able to film in Tehran.
Kino Lorber will release Tehran Taboo on Wednesday, February 14, at New York’s Film Forum; in San Francisco, CA, on March 2 (Roxie Theatre) and in Los Angeles, CA, on March 9 (at Laemmle’s Town Center 5 and Music Hall 3). The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Critics’ Week before segueing to a competition slot at the Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival.
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.