A cri de coeur on the subjugation and repression of the Bah’ai religion in Iran, “Iranian Taboo” demonstrates that a protest does not a docu make. Although the pic is delivered with earnestness by vet Dutch-Iranian filmmaker Reza Allamehzadeh, it’s more of an assemblage of parts than a structured film, jumping from talking head to talking head, and topic to topic, with no pace and little regard for auds not versed in the faith or its history within Iran. Four-wall release guarantees limited preaching to the choir.
A Take 7 Prods./Hamyar Art Foundation presentation. Produced by Bijan Shahmoradi, Mansour Taeed. Executive producers, Farshad Mahjoor, Shahmoradi, Mehran Taslimi, Shidan Taslimi. Directed by Reza Allamehzadeh.
Camera (color/B&W, DV), Rick Adams, Ahmad Nikazar, Yosi Leon; editors, Allamehzadeh, Bijan Shahmoradi; music, Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh. Reviewed at Laemmle Royal Theater, Los Angeles, Feb. 15, 2012. Running time: 75 MIN.
Pic includes footage of the Iranian regime's 1983 eradication of Bah'ai communities in Mazandaran province, testimony of Bah'ai persecutions and arrests, and surreptitiously shot cellphone video of students at an underground Bah'ai university. An impressive roster of former pols (such as Abolhassan Banisadr) and activists (Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, Hedayat Matin-Daftari) provide a degree of context, but no informative background on the causes of Iran's campaign against the Bah'ai faith is ever provided. The self-imposed exile from Iran of a Bah'ai mom named Nadareh and her teen daughter serves as the pic's only narrative thread.
Nadareh, Abolhassan Banisadr, Shirin Ebadi, Mohammad Jafari, Abdol-Karim Lahidji, Hedayat Matin-Daftari, Nasser Mohajer, Shapoor Rasekh, Soli Shahvar, Fereydoun Vahman. (Farsi, English, Mazandarani dialogue)