Mature Audiences Only

An edgy animated film for adult audiences, Tehran Taboo follows three strong-willed women and one young man who cross paths in Tehran while each pursues morally questionable activities.

From a prostitute whose young son waits nearby during her transactions, to a musician whose one-night stand has disturbing consequences, it is clear that breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation. As first-time director Ali Soozandeh explains, “Everyone sees these taboos, but no one talks about them. There is a huge silence at the center of the society that no one breaks. That was the big question I wanted to ask: Why do we all play along?” Tehran Taboo was the first animated feature in the prestigious Critics’ Week at the Cannes International Film Festival.

“A beautifully rotoscoped drama with intertwining stories set against the cognitively dissonant clash of Iran’s strict, theocratic society and the everyday 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 

“Visually striking. This wily account of 20-something Iranians negotiating an assault course of laws and prohibitions to get their kicks fizzes with energy and bad behavior.” —Wendy Ide, Screen International

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

• Read an interview with the filmmaker.

• Want to see more of the Iranian Film Festival? Rice Cinema and Asia Society Texas Center also host screenings.

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Watch on YouTube

Ali Soozandeh
Farsi with English subtitles
Running Time
90 minutes
Digital, B/W