Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Own Soul (2008)



Critic Consensus: This visually stunning interior epic inspired by Sufi mysticism explores the magic of storytelling but, like its desert locations, can be a bit dry.

Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Own Soul Photos

Movie Info

A blind dervish named Bab'Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar, wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every 30 years. With faith as their only guide, the two journey for days through the expansive, barren landscape. To keep Ishtar entertained, Bab'Aziz relays the ancient tale of a prince who relinquished his realm in order to remain next to a small pool in the desert, staring into its depths while contemplating his soul. As the tale of the prince unfolds, the two encounter other travelers with stories of their own--including Osman, who longs for the beautiful woman he met at the bottom of a well, and Zaid, who searches for the ravishing young woman who fled from him after being seduced by his songs.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Parviz Shaminkhou
as Bab' Aziz
Maryam Hamid
as Ishtar
Hossein Panahi
as Red Dervish
Morteza Zare
as Ramadan
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Own Soul

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (11)

The cycle of youth and age and the trope of a journey come together inevitably, maybe predictably, but not without sparks of wisdom.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It is neither engaging nor enlightening.

Full Review… | September 11, 2008
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A lovely if meandering fantasia about the power of narrative.

Full Review… | June 19, 2008
Washington Post
Top Critic

Cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari (Offside) conjures magic from an array of pastels, shimmering lights, and enigmatic ruins.

Full Review… | May 30, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The movie never gains much narrative momentum and the religious elements remain a bit obscure to the uninitiated, but the fine Sufi music and skillfully crafted images make for pleasant-enough viewing.

Full Review… | May 28, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Perhaps inevitably, the story and characters in Bab'Aziz never rival the interest of its photography.

Full Review… | April 25, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Own Soul

Story: B+ Acting: C+ Direction: B+ Visuals: A Setting: A+ Score: A- Overall: B+ A beautiful movie! Bab'Aziz takes you on a trip into a different world filled with music, dancing, beautiful desert landscapes and mysticism.

Grant Burgoyne
Grant Burgoyne

Well done! An interesting film that breathes life into the complexities of Sufism and makes for a visually dazzling piece.

Coco Marie
Coco Marie

Khemir's picaresque tale of a blind dervish's hunt search for a gathering of Sufi musicians is as gorgeous as you might expect from an Iranian production. Your enjoyment will largely depend on whether or not you care for the music and how much patience you have for films that, like the lead character's journey, have clear goal, but no predetermined path to reach said climax. Many of the characters are Fellini-esqe, but considering that one of the screenwriters worked on at least one late entry in the maestro's filmography, this is no surprise. Some of the supporting cast is annoyingly eccentric, but the ones that matter have some humanity. They're not just costumed caricatures. If the description sounds at all appealing, I'd recommend seeing it- even if just for the photography and music.

Richard Stracke
Richard Stracke

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