Tehran Taboo

2018, 96 minutes
Germany, Austria

Director: Ali Soozandeh

In this gorgeously animated drama, the lives of several strong-willed women and a young musician intersect. Their stories reveal the hypocrisies of modern Iranian society, where sex, drugs, and corruption coexist with strict religious law. In the bustling metropolis of Tehran, avoiding prohibitions has become an everyday sport and breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. Nevertheless, women invariably end up on the bottom rung of the social order. A young woman needs an operation to “restore” her virginity. A judge in the Islamic Revolutionary Court exhorts favors from a prostitute in exchange for a favorable ruling. The wife of an imprisoned drug addict is denied the divorce she needs in order to live independently. Making use of rotoscope animation, expat Iranian filmmaker Ali Soozandeh creates a portrait of contemporary Tehran that would be impossible by any other means.



“A beautifully rotoscoped drama with intertwining stories set against the cognitively dissonant clash of Iran’s strict, theocratic society and the every-day realities of sex, drugs and corruption.”
– Michael Ordona, Los Angeles Times



“A spellbinding animated journey into the underbelly of Iranian society.”
– E. Nina Rothe, The Huffington Post



“An audacious debut. Explores the highly charged theme of sexual and personal freedom in Iran without salaciousness.”
– Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter