Tehran Taboo is a German-Austrian animated film which explores the highly electric theme of sexual and individual freedom in Iran. Directed by Ali Soozandeh, the film portrays women as the main victims of sexual slavery whether married, divorced or single, and their lives are depicted as pure tragedy. Although the film debuted in the United States on Wednesday, February 14 it was first screened in the International Critics' Week section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
The storyline revolves around three young women and a musician. Through animation, it depicts their journey of happiness and sexual freedom in Iran and the creative ways through which the four overcomes the restrictions of a conservative Islamic society.
Interestingly, the movie used real actors to film and later animated the real video through computer softwares. It has scenes of public executions, sexual violence, animal abuse and suicide which have all been shot with real-life actors and stuntmen and later animated.
The film’s director Soozandeh left Iran in 1995 and has been a German citizen since then. Talking to The Huffington Post, the director said that he always asked himself “why is sexuality such a big taboo in Iran?” He also added that the idea of Tehran Taboo occurred to him after hearing a conversation between two young men on a train in Tehran about problems with relationships with Iranian women.
Pari, Elias and Sara in a Restaurant
“I believe eventually people’s dreams and problems are all the same all around. However, it’s the circumstances and backgrounds that change and I think you could identify with the characters. Everybody initially will have had problems like that but I wanted to tell it in Iran because I know Iran and its part of me — but I do think its universal problems,” Soozandeh said at the Cannes Film Festival.