7.8/10
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5 user 19 critic

Beautiful City (2004)

Shah-re ziba (original title)
Akbar has just turned eighteen. He has been held in a rehabilitation centre for committing murder at the age of sixteen when he was condemned to death. Legally speaking, he had to reach the... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Firoozeh
...
Abolqasem Rahmati
Babak Ansari ...
A'la
Hossein Farzi-Zadeh ...
Akbar
Farhad Ghaemian
Ahu Kheradmand ...
Abolqasem's Wife
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Storyline

Akbar has just turned eighteen. He has been held in a rehabilitation centre for committing murder at the age of sixteen when he was condemned to death. Legally speaking, he had to reach the age of eighteen so that the conviction could be carried out. Now, Akbar is transferred to prison to await the day of his execution. A'la, a friend of Akbar, who himself has undergone imprisonment for burglary, soon after his release tries desperately to gain the consent of Akbar's plaintiff so as to stop the execution. Written by Anonymous

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Drama

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11 July 2012 (France)  »

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Beautiful City  »

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1.85 : 1
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Asghar Farhadi's second feature film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Iranian movie for those sick of Iranian films
26 October 2004 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The slow, endless Iranian art films, so omnipresent in film festivals since the 80s, are by now, an either love it or hate it proposition. I now fall into the hate it category, jaded and bored by their sheer numbers, similarity of themes, characters, boring landscapes, and slow pace.

However, I do still see a couple every year to confirm, or review my perception of them. Besides, one can't judge all Iranian art films in a certain light, though the art form does tend to make the viewer take those extreme positions. So, I saw this film (called "Beautiful City")here - the name of the juvenile detention center the main character comes from. I found it entertaining and fresh, though the drab scenery and sameness of themes, landscapes, and characters are there.

It's an interesting (and again, entertaining, not endless like most) look at parts of Iranian society not often shown. These include delinquent youth, drug dealers and their hoods, the very negotiable (economically and religiously) Islamic death penalty, and prostitution on various levels.

I wonder whether films like this are shown in Iran? Of course, the masses would never run to see this movie. And obviously, all these Iranian films are intended for foreign (mostly western viewing), particularly at festivals. But I wonder whether anybody can just show up at a cinema and see it, or is it shown at semi-private showings for a select audience. If it is, how can this distorted Islamic government continue?

Anyway, that's the most interesting point of the film. It shows (whether true or not) that the government in Iran is not that Islamic, not that intolerant, somewhat democratic. But the society, under those black clothes, and automatic "God is great" messages, is as corrupt as the world's most corrupt, and more purely capitalistic than the social democratic capitalism we have today.

In the film, everything, from death sentences to pardons, from marriages to an opportunity for a life-saving medical operation, not to mention drugs and people, can be bought and sold with Tomans (Iranian cash).


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