Tehran Taxi, Darwin TaxiTuesday, 29 December 2015
◄ What is it about taxis and movies? Film directors just love to squeeze inside those four wheeled confines. Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth – which visits Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rome and Helsinki all in one night is a favourite, but yesterday I saw two taxi films.
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Tehran – aka Tehran Taxi or simply Taxi – has taken the awards for his brave ‘this is not a movie’ film, made despite the Iranian authorities’ 20 year ban on his movie making. Almost the entire film takes place within his taxi as he encounters a DVD bootlegger (he’ll get you Woody Allen movies), human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, even his own niece, intent on making her own movie if she can just get around the rules and regulations. Plus these two ladies intent on carrying goldfish to release in a holy spring. ▼
▲ I haven’t been to Iran since 2004 so I was somewhat amazed to note the almost complete absence of Paykans in the film. Back then almost every car on the road seemed to be a Paykan, I took this double Paykan image in Tehran.
The Paykan (Arrow in Persian) was the car of Iran for almost half a century and I feel a particular connection with it since in my original career as an engineer I was involved with the Hillman Hunter, the car which became the Paykan when the complete assembly line was sold to the Iranians. I’ve blogged in the past about how disappointed I was that the Hollywood movie Argo totally failed for me when not a single Paykan made an appearance. Lonely Planet author Andrew Burke recently sent me a link to this Reorient Magazine article on the mighty Paykan, note Miss Iran in a miniskirt advertising the Paykan in 1977. ►
◄ From Tehran I travelled, cinematically, from Broken Hill to Darwin in Australia in Last Cab to Darwin, directed by Jeremy Sims from Reg Cribb’s play about a terminally ill Broken Hill cabbie who decides to drive up to Darwin where euthanasia may – or may not – be permissible. Along the way he meets a cast of characters from an Aboriginal footballer going off the tracks to an English backpacker who, fortunately, turns out to be a very competent nurse.
His drive also hits just about every tourist attraction along the way. I’ve driven (and/or motorcycled) the movie’s Broken Hill-Darwin route and also been back to both cities this year by plane. This Broken Hill mural feature’s in the city’s small airport terminal, it’s by ‘brushman of the bush’ Pro Hart. ▼