Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Isfahan, Iran. Whilst at school he became interested in writing, drama and the cinema, took courses at the Iranian Young Cinema Society and started his career as a filmmaker by making super 8mm and 16mm films.
He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998. During his studies, he wrote and directed several student plays, wrote for the national radio and directed a number of TV series, including episodes of Tale of a City.
In 2001, Farhadi wrote the screenplay for Ebrahim Hatamikia’s box-office and critical success Low Heights.
His directorial debut was in 2003 with Dancing in the Dust. After Beautiful City, in 2004, and Fireworks Wednesday in 2006, Farhadi directed About Elly, winning the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
A Separation… read more
“From the youngest age, I have thought that the world we live in betrays us; this thought still remains with me.” The tragedy of life; not that there is no joy, but that any joy attained is at the expense of someone else's sorrow. The master understood this, and now he has a pupil. Undoubtedly one of the greatest films I've ever seen.
In many ways, Beautiful City (Asghar Farhadi's second film) is the logical precursor to A Separation (his fifth film)—both deal with the intersection of relationships, the law and religion in modern Iran. At the heart of these films is the conflict between justice and forgiveness. Farhadi doesn't shy away from asking tough ethical questions that are sure to stick in his audience's mind well after the credits roll.
One problem with Beautiful City is the conflict setup. The story behind the murder isn't fleshed out enough to be entirely plausible, and I'm quite frankly not sure why anyone even tried to secure Akbar's release. Would the film have been more convincing if Akbar's crime had been of a lesser degree?
Another thing: Farhadi is more surface-level than, say, Abbas Kiarostami. If you really sit down and look at law in Iranian cinema, I'd pick Close-Up over Beautiful City any day. That's not a slight against Farhadi though—his films are about what's happening on-screen, and anything else is a bonus. Whereas Kiarostami is primarily concerned with what's not happening on the screen. (In some cases, this is literally true—take Shirin for example, where we cannot see what the audience is watching.) Two different filmmakers, two different styles. Farhadi's more fun to watch, but Kiarostami makes you think more.
No, I disagree. Farhadi is anything but surface-level. His characters are all internally structured, their motivations and emotions only revealed by the how Farhadi visualizes their "turmoil," for lack of a better word. He uses the camera to push his characters along a social precipice and then asks us to watch them fall off; hence Naruse. Kiarostami, on the other hand, uses the falsity of the medium itself to comment upon that social line, something akin to Godard (maybe why Godard has said the cinema ends with Kiarostami). There couldn't be two more radically different filmmakers, so comparing one to find a conclusion about the other seems absurd.