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Shah-re ziba (The Beautiful City)

Shah-re ziba (The Beautiful City) (2004)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 496

My Rating

Movie Info

A complex web of emotional and legal issues is being spun around a young man on death row in this drama from Iran. Akbar (Hossein Farzi-Zadeh) murdered his girlfriend when he was 16 years old; now that he's 18, he's being transferred from a facility for juvenile offenders to an adult prison, where he'll wait until his death sentence is carried out. However, no one is sure when that will be, because Akbar's father is required to pay "blood money" to Rahmati (Faramarz Gharibian), the father of the


Art House & International, Drama

Asghar Farhadi

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (1)

[A] melancholy drama about the aftermath of a senseless murder.

March 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Well acted and smartly written, the film is an eye-opening sociological portrait that also manages to be a compelling human drama.

March 30, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
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Here's another deeply resonant little movie from Iran, featuring more polished (yet still naturalistic) acting than usually seen in U.S. productions.

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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It's a penetrating exploration of retribution versus forgiveness, blood money, sacrifice and the intricacies of Iran's Islamic judicial system.

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Fascinating glimpse into wholly different body of laws, engrossingly evolving script and standout perfs, including Taraneh Alidoosti's ... make City more accessible to arthouse auds than more stylistically challenging Farsi fare.

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cross-pollinate an archetypal plotline with problematic romance and what you get is Beautiful City, a film in which the world is made immediate and kinetic.

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While touching on subjects as serious and diverse as capital punishment, the devaluation of women in Iran and the true Islamic concept of forgiveness, this powerful melodrama from the Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi is anything but a message movie.

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Persistence is everything in Asghar Farhadi's visually undistinguished but affecting Beautiful City, a simple film about the power of forgiveness.

March 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Shah-re ziba (The Beautiful City)

[font=Century Gothic]In "Beautiful City", Akbar(Hossein Farzi-Zadeh) has just turned 18 which should be cause for celebration but is not since he is serving time for killing his girlfriend in a botched murder-suicide and is now eligible for the death penalty. His pal in the juvenile detention center, A'La(Babak Ansari), seeks early release to plead his case and finds the easiest way is to start behaving himself. Upon release, he plans to go with Akbar's sister, Firoozeh(Taraneh Alidoosti), to ask the victim's father, Abolghassem(Faramarz Gharibian), for his consent in commuting the sentence. She has already made her case, only to be punched in the face for her trouble. The father is getting tired of the constant petitions, so he asks the court if there is any way to speed up the proceedings. There is if he is willing to pay blood money to make up the cost between the woman who was killed and the man who will be executed.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Beautiful City" is a very effectively told tale, not only about how women are treated in Iran but universal themes including forgiveness, vengeance and the death penalty. My only complaint about the movie is that it does tend to get confusing in the second half when different offers are made. Plus, it was a little hard at times trying to understand the labyrinthine Iranian judicial system. [/font]
May 3, 2010
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

At first, the film's set-up was primitive, and there seems to be no importance on the crime itself. The lead characters all claim that their friend, a murderer, "doesn't deserve to die", but this was never proved, why. But as the film proceeds, it becomes clear that this is not the point: instead we see how the final verdict was put in the hands of the dead girl's father,.The Killer fate is passed now onto those, the father and also those who must plead with him for clemency. The father who still could not deal with his grief. The film's represented also the role of women in an Islamic society, which was also sensitive and interesting to see. The abrupt ending concludes a quiet tragedy that delivers more than is promised at the start.
Thank you my friend for this good movie recommendation, most movies of Iran showed till now, not to be disappointed.
May 17, 2009
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Beautiful City (Shah-re ziba) (DE)
  • Beautiful City (Shah-re ziba) (UK)
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