The second film from writer-director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation; The Salesman; A Hero) again finds a potent dramatic entry point to explore themes that relate to both politics and ethics. Recently released from a juvenile detention centre, Ala combines forces with Firoozeh (Taraneh Alidoosti) in order to plead the case for his friend/her brother, Akbar, who having turned 18 is now eligible for the death penalty for the killing of his girlfriend. Akbar’s fate lies in the hands of the victim’s father, who in Iran’s judicial system holds the power to grant clemency. But the old man remains furious, not only with Akbar, but with God himself.
As is often the case in Iranian films, Beautiful City establishes an authenticity through naturalistic performances and unglamorous settings. Farhadi seems particularly invested in the bond between Ala and Firoozeh, who is herself already married. But our attention shifts to their antagonist, the victim’s grieving father, who believes retribution is his last contract with his murdered child.
It’s a penetrating exploration of retribution versus forgiveness, blood money, sacrifice and the intricacies of Iran’s Islamic judicial system.
Laura Kern, The New York Times
Well acted and smartly written, the film is an eye-opening sociological portrait that also manages to be a compelling human drama.
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
The film’s hopefulness is matched only by its goodness, and its message is one we could all stand to learn.
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Faramarz Gharibian, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Ansari, Ahoo Kheradmand
In Persian with English subtitles
Winner: Grand Prix, Warsaw Film Festival; Special Jury Award, International Film Festival of India
Monday June 05
Wednesday June 07
Sunday June 11
Indigenous & Community Access
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