Hard-working mom Tuba (Adineh) puts in long hours as an assembly-line worker at a textile factory in Iran. But her real troubles are at home, where she copes with an endless chain of family crises. With her spouse Mahmoud (Moradi) disabled, and her pregnant daughter Hamideh (Riazi) beset by domestic violence, she relies on older son Abbas (Forutan), an idealistic youth with big dreams of earning a living in Japan. But his choices aren’t always in the best interest of the family.
Bani-Etemad’s compelling story of misery and striving among Iran’s urban working class has the redemptive, purgative power of classical tragedy, focusing on the trials of a matriarch fatigued by grueling work and distraught with internal conflicts at home. Adineh and Foutan both give splendid, finely tuned performances, as does young Baran Kowsari (the director’s daughter), as the spirited youngest child. “City” is a stout-hearted examination of class, social maladies, and familial strife in present-day Iran, and a gritty, unsentimental portrait of a woman’s struggle for dignity.