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Asghar Farhadi's A Separation is my first experience with Iranian
cinema and it for sure won't be my last. It reminds me instantly of a
quote said by American director Alexander Payne, "...I think there may
be a problem with a world in which making small, human[...]films is 'an
achievement.' It should be the norm." Just from this film, I would be
justified in saying that Farhadi is Iran's Payne.
Here is a wonderfully made film that comes from a country that has been nothing but slandered for the last decade. We constantly hear horrible things are brewing in Iraq, such as suppression, inequality, unrest, and the increasing possibility of nuclear war, yet we see the tenderness and contemporary side of the country, where problems had by typical townfolk will mirror those of someone living in the United States. For a country so isolated and so different, it sure knows what notes to strike to hit home.
The opening scene focuses on Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), a couple who have been married for fourteen years and are now in court filing for divorce. The camera is positioned as if we are the judge, hearing both cases, with interruptions and simultaneous banter from each party. This gives us a great sense of angst, and the facial expressions on both characters are raw and authentic. They are divorcing because of grand contention when consulting their family's future, with Simin wanting to pack up and leave Iran in pursuit of a better life, wand Nader not wanting to leave his elderly father, who is tragically stricken with Alzheimer's.
Another debate hovering over both of their heads is the future of their eleven year old daughter, Termeh (played magnificently by Sarina Farhadi). She chooses to live with her father, because by doing so, her mother will not leave Iran, and their family will still be somewhat close. No child, regardless of background or country, should ever need to make a decision like Termeh's.
It dawns on Nader that because of work, he will need someone to watch his ailing father during the day. A woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) is hired as a caretaker for the man, who has limited his speaking to fragmented words and has now taken the life of a lion, laying in bed and sleeping for much of the day. One day, Nader and Termeh return home to an empty house to find the man lying on the floor unconscious, with one of his hands tied to the bedpost. Nader too discovers money missing from his home and when Razieh returns home, Nader erects an enormous argument which leads to harsh courtroom consequences after allegations raised by Razieh that she was physically assaulted.
Razieh is pregnant and is married to the demanding, vindictive troublemaker Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who only grows more and more demanding and agitated as time progresses. The two couples becomes unraveled by this tragedy, and the film begins to shed light on these character's decisions during this madness, following them on a relentless journey through the complications of marriage and impulsive decisions not meant to cause harm. I could label this Iran's version of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, a film where characters are faced with multiple decisions that need critical thinking in order to work out favorably, but I fear that would be an oversimplification.
A Separation does not hesitate to dig deep into the separation of ethics, morality, religion, politics, and economics in present-day Iran. Writer/director Farhadi carefully examines the restraints both law and faith have within Iranians, whose lives are particularly foreign and difficult to comprehend for Americans, who are without a doubt living with restraints we do not usually recognize. It's admirable the film doesn't get stuck in stylistic clichés, empty-headed aesthetics, and a list of cripplingly undeveloped characters. We see these characters with space and clarity, watching them as they travel along this unforgiving road of confusion none of them should be facing.
One actress that is likely to go unnoticed with four remarkable talents taking center stage is Sarina Farhadi's terrific portrayal of a youth caught in the middle of tireless madness. She is not made out to be the precocious tike who knows way too much, but is drawn more confused than her parents, who are caught in the middle of unfortunate circumstance. Much like the facial expressions of her parents, Farhadi's character Termeh holds those of innocence lost and fear of increasingly destructive trouble brewing. The hard part is knowing there is almost nothing she can do to stop it. She is forced to take a backseat while the ugly bleakness of the world drives around a labyrinth of confusion.
Farhadi's Iran in A Separation is the kind of nuanced one that must be seen. It shows its characters as humans, and not trigger-happy terrorists. It shows their problems as common, and not in an unconventional way that is impossible for audiences of other countries to not relate to or be unable to grasp. The film is a difficult one to thoroughly contemplate alone, and perhaps it's one of those that is better debated with close friends or acquaintances. Its morally complex and involving scenarios are overwhelming to try and fathom quietly.
Starring: Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. Directed by: Asghar Farhadi.
A domestic drama set in contemporary Tehran. Yawn, no thank you. I love
my World Cinema but usually too much politics and religion take over
and gets too heavy, masking the story.
However, this intelligently scripted (original, Oscar nominated script by director Asghar Farhadi, in the mainstream - that's 1 out 5 of ALL movies that year) soon grips and a personal story that is SO universal, then becomes shaped by Iran's religion and politics. This is done so superbly, you won't notice the join. Considering also that it's in Persian and even the end titles don't have any western writing, it's obviously not made with the U.S and Europe in mind.
The story, surrounding the separation (as in the title) of Nadir and Simmin is complicated by Nadir's elderly father needing constant care due to his Alzheimers, making him vulnerable and a liability when he wanders. The couple have a young teenage daughter, who is intelligent, straight-forward and a good kid. The couple are both working, he in a bank.
Most of the two hours deals with issues thrown up by these very ordinary, boring domestic situations but as in real life and to all who've been in such, there are big problems dealing with getting reliable care for the old man - and this is where the country's religion and economics come in.
Issues on debt, debtors, birth, miscarriage, healthcare, theft, the legal system - even Tehran's traffic are all covered in a most natural and realistic way, leading to a complex scenario that culminates to a heart-rending and impossible situation. At times, it's straggly, as is the filming, which is for the better. Real life conversations aren't rehearsed and the camera looks around like the eye does - not shaky all the time like many modern films, nor smooth, but flitting to the subject being looked at and then holding that, making it all very realistic. The ending is also nicely straggly, too - you'll see what I mean - allowing the viewer to form their own opinion rather than it being neatly pigeon- holed.
A Separation is not a film to see over and again; but watch it once and you'll learn more about real life Muslims in their own environment, with their own rules and how they deal with a big Life situation. That piece of drama is worth seeing for itself - that bit's universal as I said - as for the film, the only taint from the west are the added subtitles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the opening sequence of Asghar Farhadi's terrific film, we see a
couple, who are about to get divorced, sitting quietly. And then,
without warning, the terse conversation about their lives and family
escalates into a fire-spewing argument. The camera sensibly does not
focus anywhere else during that sequence and after everything is said
and done, every argument is brushed upon, the scene cuts away, not
before vividly capturing the animosity between its lead characters.
And that one sequence merits a deserving round of applause for Farhadi's 'A Separation', a scorchingly intense drama about conscience and moral ethics. Farhadi tactfully dissects the human mind by challenging us to confront ourselves as human beings with his beauty of a script and immensely complex characters but breathes real emotions while tension sears through the tightly-wound plot. It's something miraculous this, for the film is something so familiar because these are like the characters we have encountered at some point in our lives and we have heard them have conversations like the ones they have in the film.
Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) have been married for fourteen years and have a 11-year old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). Tensions arise in their marriage when Simin decides o shift abroad for the sake of providing their daughter with a better life which Nader isn't willing to accept. He wants to stay in Iran to care for his father who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Frustrated by her husband's lack of interest, Simin decides to stay with her mother for a while. In her absence, Nader hires a pregnant caretaker Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his father while he's working. One day, when Razieh has to leave the house on some urgent business, she ties Nader's father up to prevent him from leaving the house. When Nader returns only to find his father's condition has worsened because of Razieh's actions, he pushes her in a fit of rage. What happens next changes the lives of everyone involved.
Apart from being a drama about the disintegration of a relationship, the film could also be passed off as a suspense-thriller, solely because of the sharp wit Farhadi so wonderfully weaves into the tense setting. Of the rousing babel that breaks at many points throughout the film, Farhadi is able to articulate himself through his writing, because the characters emote the precise emotions we expect them to. The film intently tries to comprehend the reasons for the actions of the characters it talks about and that's one skill that's hard to perfect. The direction is top-notch, because Farhadi is a remarkable observer of little details.
Of the performances, Peyman Moaadi and Shahab Hosseini, who plays Razieh's debt-ridden husband, are standout. Moaadi, playing the grim father and husband, is outstanding. Leila Hatami, who is left out for most of the film, does supremely well in a small role. Sareh Bayat hands in a convincing performance of a complex character and it's easy to relate to her portrayal of a grieving mother.
As far as dramas go, 'A Separation' is a nearly-perfect one, and an intelligent film that tragically depicts the depths human nature can sink to, if provoked. It's one film that can compel you to change the way you look at yourself. It's fascinating to see how a few well-chosen words and characters can chisel you into a better human being.
THIS FILM IS TRULY A MASTERPIECE!!!This is one of the best movies I've
ever seen in a very long time!!
The acting was incredible!!!!!!!!!Totally deserved the award,
Even though the storyline isn't that interesting , the SENSATIONAL acting made me dying to know what's gonna happen next !!
Recommend this movie to everyone who hasn't seen it yet ! just see it and you won't regret it !!!
I wish more people in the world knew about this film.who cares about Hollywood ,true cinema is out there
As most will understand through the trailer, A Separation is about a couple preparing for a divorce but getting mixed up in a mistake the husband made. As the film crawls closer and closer to the conclusion, you're literally at the edge of your seat as new evidence are introduced, as the family is struggling with the court room situation and their own situation, and as we come to finding out the secrets everyone is trying to hide from the court. There's no way to describe how intriguing this film is, and even in the last seconds of the film, you're still at the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Undeniably a Oscar worthy film, the Iraqians have proved that the U.S. is not alone in the film industry. I'm hoping to see more films like this: intense, stressful, and emotional, minus all the sex, violence, substance use, and profanity. One issue people might have is the lack of music, but the quiet atmosphere nonetheless makes this film even more gut-wrenching. An excellent film indeed, now take my advice and see it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A SEPARATION is a profoundly moving film from Iran, written and
directed by Asghar Farhadi, acted by a truly gifted cast of artists,
and a film that dares to dig deeply into so many issues that are not
only serving to enlighten the world about conditions in Iran, but also
to make us each reevaluate our feelings about family, faith, love,
responsibility, parenting, and surviving in a world that often seems
incompatible with life as we once knew it. One of the reasons the film
works so intensely well is the directors ignoring the outside
influences of musical score and cinematic effects, instead relying on
person to person communication in claustrophobic confines that drives
the story in an almost breathless pace that heightens the drama.
Briefly, the story deals with husband and wife Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) who are arguing about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and takes care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. So committed is Simin to make this escape from the confines and turmoil of Iran that she decides to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter. Nadar must work at the bank to support his father and Termeh who has decided to stay home in Iran with her father, so he hires a caregiver Razieh (Sareh Bayat) who comes to work with her 6 year old daughter: Razieh is pregnant, her unemployed cobbler husband Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini) is in and out of debtors prison, and in general Hodjat and Razieh represent the agony of the struggling lower class. Razieh cannot cope with caring for the Alzheimer victim, stressors occur, Nader throws Razieh out of his house when he discovers his father's lack of care, and in the struggle Razieh has a miscarriage. The remainder of the film is the struggle between the two couples - middle class Nader and Simin and poverty lower class Razieh and Hodjat. The audience is placed in the 'courtroom' (actually a simple confrontation with a judge) concerning divorce, the accident that turns a miscarriage into an accusation of murder, and the battle between the two couples, which is a battle between classes. Religious issues are raised: philosophical issues are in focus. From all of these incidents we learn more about the current standards of life in Iran than any book has shared.
It is rare when a film leaves the audience speechless. This one does. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Hope,dram,separation... I think,the film is more dramatic than other
İranian films.Film is excellent.Do you like dram?,if you answer is
"yes" you must watch this film.İf you have a family you must watch this
Film's scenario is very good ,so the movie won Oscar.Movie is give us information about İrian social life.I think Sareh BAYAT is the best player in movie.The film's ending music is very good and impressive.
At the end of the film,I say myself "I love my family and they are very important for me.Asghar FARHADİ written and directed by this film.
I think,the film is teaching us "Cheats never prosper"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have never been as tense watching a movie as when I watched "A
Separation". But is not a political thriller or an action movie filled
with car chases. When we watch those types of movies we know that the
events we see will never happen to us so we can sit back and enjoy
I think the reason I got so "into" this movie is that the events portrayed in it very easily could happen to me or my friends and family. It is basically a domestic drama, starting with a marriage breakdown.
The amazing opening scene shows an Iranian woman and her husband speaking to a judge. She wants a divorce as she has a visa to settle in another country but he says he can't leave, as he has to look after his elderly father, who has Alzheimer's. It's sadly obvious that their relationship has completely broken down. The judge doesn't agree to the divorce but the wife goes to live with her mother. Their teenage daughter decides to stay with her father and he employs woman to look after his father when there is no one else at home.
From there on a series of seemingly insignificant events have major consequences. Giving any more details of the plot might spoil your enjoyment of the movie.
However if you have ever had a sick relative, been angry at your spouse/partner, been unhappy with work someone has done for you or told a lie for what you thought was a good reason I think this movie will affect you greatly.
The Iranian film "Jodaeiye Nader az Simin" was shown in the U.S. with
the title "A Separation" (2011). The movie was written and directed by
Asghar Farhadi. "A Separation" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language
Film. It has also won many, many awards in film festivals around the
The movie is a domestic drama in which there are no heroes and no villains. Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Moadi) are a middle-class couple who appear to have a good relationship and a decent life. Matters begin to unravel because Simin wants to emigrate "for a better life for their child," and Nader feels compelled to remain at home. Nader's father, played superbly by Ali-Asghar Shahbaz, has advanced Alzheimer's disease, and needs constant care.
Ultimately, Simin moves out of the apartment, and matters go seriously downhill from there. Although, obviously, major differences exist between Iranian culture and U.S. culture, the movie is really universal. Without the language difference and the women's headscarves, this film could be taking place in the U.S. No one wants trouble, but once given an opening, trouble finds them. Each attempt to improve the situation brings only more trouble. Even if this type of serious discord has never happened to us, we can see and understand how it happened to this couple, and we can realize that none of us is immune.
"A Separation" has not only received critical acclaim, but it has been popular with audiences as well. As I write this review, the IMDb rating is an astonishing 8.6, putting the movie within the category of "Top 100 Films." To my amazement, a Rochester, NY reviewer found the film overly long and dull. His additional criticism--the movie didn't deal with Iran's nuclear program, and with the imminent threat of attack by Israel and/or the U.S. Apparently, the reviewer doesn't realize that most people, in most countries, most of the time, are caught up in their own lives and their own problems. When your father has Alzheimer's disease, and your wife has left you, those problems are where you put your energy. Foreign policy takes a back seat.
This is a realistic domestic drama about realistic problems. That's its strength, not its weakness. It's a great film, and it's not boring! Don't miss it.
This film is about an Iranian woman who asks for divorce from her
husband, and its resultant repercussions.
"A Separation" starts off very intense, as the woman fiercely battles for a divorce in front of a judge. She does not fear the authority, even if the culture and social norms are against her. This remarkable opening is impressive, and I can safely say that this momentum is maintained throughout the rest of the film The plot is followed by a battle of morality and self interest. The two couples concerned all react differently to the situation, sparking an interesting character analysis. What seemingly decent individuals would do to protect their honour and self interest, and how far desperate individuals would fight for perceived justice. These complex character portrayals are so engrossing and through provoking. There is not a moment of slack. The ending twist is surprising, and adds to the brilliance of this film. "A Separation" is a must watch film.
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