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Shah-re ziba | Asghar Farhadi,
Iran | Format: 35mm | 101 minutes
In a juvenile detention facility, 18-year-old Akbar (Hossein Farzi-Zadeh) awaits execution for the murder of his girlfriend when he was 16. Meanwhile, outside the prison walls, paroled petty thief Ala (Babak Ansari) offers to help Akbar's sister, Firoozeh (Taraneh Alidoosti, in the first of her three collaborations with director Farhadi), secure clemency from the dead girl’s vengeful father. As Ala and Firoozeh navigate a complex gauntlet of legal and emotional red tape, they find themselves growing unexpectedly close--a tentative romance skillfully woven into the film’s life-or-death narrative. Rooted in spectacular performances by Alidoosti (fresh from her star-making debut in I Am Taraneh, I Am Fifteen Years Old) and Ansari, Farhadi’s second feature is a human-scale morality play of shattering force. NOT ON DVD.