Under The Skin Of The City

on March 14, 2003 by Susan Green
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The plight of women is a prime concern in “Under the Skin of the City,” the latest example of the brilliance evident in contemporary Iranian cinema. Rakhshan Bani Etemad co-wrote and directed her seventh feature, which follows the dwindling fortunes of the hardscrabble, salt-of-the-earth Tuba (Golab Adineh). A Persian-speaking Ma Joad, she too has a grown son who must skip town--“The Grapes of Wrath,” Teheran-style. Abba (Mohammed Reza Foroutan) is less of an idealist than Tom Joad; he's an upwardly mobile delivery boy planning to immigrate to Japan. It might be possible to earn enough money there to help his impoverished parents, but he makes a fatal miscalculation that endangers the entire family. His teenage sister (Baran Kosari), meanwhile, has a best friend on the run after theoretically violating some repressive tenet of Islamic law aimed only at females. Tuba, who works at a mind-numbing factory job, endures. One can easily imagine her saying, “We'll go on forever, Pa, because we're the people.” Starring Golab Adineh, Mohammed Reza Foroutan, Baran Kosari, Ebrahim Shaybani and Mohsen Ghazi Moradi. Directed by Rakhshan Bani Etemad. Written by Rakhshan Bani Etemad and Farid Mostafavi. Produced by Jahangir Kosari and Rakhshan Bani Etemad. A Magnolia release. Drama. Persian-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 92 min
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