Tehran Taboo (2017): Ali Soozandeh’s Politically Charged Animation

The lineup of this 56th edition of Critics’ Week shows a political tendency: several films deal with social issues.

A politically charged work to compete at Critics’ Week is an animated feature, Ali Soozandeh’s Tehran Taboo, which presents an uncompromising portrait of life in Teheran, a city where basic civil liberties are banned, corruption is rampant and women are oppressed.

Animated through rotoscope, the film tells the story of three women and a male musician living in Tehran and their desperate attempts at coping with Iran’s strict religious laws and resulting double standards.

Pari cannot get a divorce without her husband’s permission, which he refuses. She has been forced into prostitution, and engages in sex acts accompanied by her six-year-old son, Elias.

When she goes before a judge in the Islamic Revolutionary Court to seek a divorce despite the lack of approval from her husband, the judge barters a concubine arrangement and houses her in an apartment he owns. There she meets Sara and her husband.

Other Features

Emmanuel Gras’ documentary feature Makala follows the life of a family man in Congo.

Critics’ Week will also showcase the debut of another French helmer, Léa Mysius, whose film Ava charts the summer of a teenager, played by the actress Noée Abita, who learns how to contain personal demons and meets challenges.  Ava says something about a generation facing the fear of a bleak future

Gustavo Rondón Córdova’s La Familia concerns a father and his estranged son wandering across Caracas after fleeing their dangerous suburb.

Marcela Said’s (“The Summer of Flying Fish”) Los Perros is about the consequences of the Pinochet dictatorship on Chilean society and the prevailing hypocrisy.

Atsuko Hiranayagi’s Oh Lucy! is a bittersweet comedy about three Japanese women, an American friend and a Japanese one embarking on a trip between Japan and the U.S.

The movie toplines Josh Hartnett and Yakujo Kôji (“The Eel by Imamura”).

Brazilian director Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa’s Gabriel and the Mountain depicts a young idealist’s journey to Africa.

Critics’ Week will close with Dave McCary’s comedy Brigsby Bear, which world premiered at Sundance, light and tender homage to cinema. The film toplines “Star Wars’” Mark Hamill as a father who has given his son a crippling love for film which can only be cured by making movies. Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance, Brigsby Bear stars Kyle Mooney, a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” who co-wrote the movie with Kevin Costello.

Hubert Charuel’s Bloody Milk is a genre-bender set in a French farming community.

Thierry de Peretti’s A Violent Life, an ultra-realistic film about the political radicalization of a man in Corsica, will get special screenings at Critics’ Week.

Both Bloody Milk, a Hitchcockian thriller set in the farming world, and A Violent Life start off with a documentary-like realism and then change towards genre.