Berlin Film Festival: Panahi’s Taxi wins Golden Bear

The film Taxi by a dissident Iranian director has won the top prize at the 65th Berlin Film Festival.Taxi is Jafar Panahi’s third film since he was slapped with an official filmmaking ban in 2010.Panahi was unable to be in Berlin for the ceremony but his niece, Hana Saeidi, was on hand for a tearful acceptance of the statuette.”I’m not able to say anything, I’m too moved,” said Ms Saeidi, who appears in the film.In “Taxi”, Panahi shares his thoughts on contemporary Tehran as he drives a yellow taxi, using a mounted dashboard camera to evade the scrutiny of the Iranian authorities.The film was one of 19 films vying for the prestigious Golden Bear award.The Berlin jury was headed by US director Darren Aronofsky.”Limitations often inspire filmmakers to storytellers to make better work, but sometimes those limitations can be so suffocating they destroy a project and often damage the soul of the artist,” he said.”Instead of allowing his spirit to be crushed and giving up, instead of allowing himself to be filled with anger and frustration, Jafar Panahi created a love letter to cinema.”His film is filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience.”Other films in contention included Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as Gertrude Bell and Robert Pattinson as TE Lawrence.