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I think our day to day life has more than enough material for a good
movie. 'A separation' engrosses you into the life of a small Persian
family and shows you what happens there. You get to watch this very
closely and the final result is a superbly simple and beautiful film.
The story is so real, this could have happened anywhere.
There is also another nice movie by the same director - 'About Elly (2009)', but I think I liked this one more.
The movie lingers, makes you think, but its not heavy on your mind, you relish the thinking, it might probably remind you of the events in your own life and what you may have done in those circumstances. In some sense, you actually cherish the fact that well - this is life. There are too many beautiful moments in this film to list, go watch it, satisfaction assured.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision, to improve the
life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and
look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimers (plot).
First thing iam sure this film will get nominated by the Academy for best foreign language film and i hope Mr.Farhadi won, because he deserved.
Secend thing the film present a very simple story about Nader and Simin have been planning to move to a European country to provide better opportunities, as Simin claims in the court, for their only daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).
Third thing, Nader refuse to leave his father and Simin need her daughter to go with her, but the problem with the daughter, she want one thing like all the children in the worlds, one house and lovable parents.
Finally, " this film really deserves to be considered as one of the film of the year and i deserves the high rating in IMDb site, "A Separation" was good example of a real-life movie which could help people to revise their ideas about important concepts like responsibility, love and sacrifice.
I have never lived in Iran, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of the film as a portrait of Iranian life. But it certainly convinced me of its authenticity in terms of the problems faced by most ordinary people at lot of the time. I assume that the characters were played by actors, but they never seemed like actors and never intruded their own personalities into the piece. The film raised a number of importance moral questions, without preaching at the viewer and no easy answers were offered. I had one reservation - about an event hidden from the viewer but critical to an understanding of the action. However, apart from this, I thought it was excellent.
"A Separation" is an intense and powerful examination of the eternal
conflict between human emotions, personal convictions and Law, whether
political or religious, and it happens to be I believe- the best film
The movie is set in Iran, in an upper-middle class area, and features a series of unfortunate incidents, all guided by sincere and genuine emotions, but that nonetheless end up judged by the Islamic Law. Written and directed by Ashgar Farhadi, the film is a triumph on the field of intelligence as it never patronizes the viewer by pointing a finger on an obvious 'antagonist'. Ultimately, the victims are not innocent, nor the accusers are wrongdoers, and the only 'responsible' is a Law that fails to take into consideration human feelings.
Still, Law isn't negatively portrayed as it remains true to its obligatory neutrality, a notion hinted in the very first scene of the film. Indeed, the realism and intensity of the dialog, a back and forth verbal fight between a wife and a husband sets in the very first minutes what would be the enthralling tone of the film. The core of the conflict is not unusual in family dramas, it's about a child custody, Simin (Leila Hatami) wants a divorce because her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) refuse to emigrate in a country that would in her opinion- provide a better education to her daughter Termeh, Sarina Farhadi as a strong-minded adolescent yet the hostage of an inextricable situation, even more ironic because the two parents don't want to divorce.
But Nader gives legitimate reasons to his refusal: he must take care of his father, an old eighty-something man suffering from Alzheimer disease. "But he doesn't know you!" "Yes, but I know him", this brilliant exchange plays like the movie in microcosm; it's all about contradictory opinions guided by legitimate emotions or convictions. When the opening scene ends, those who agree with Simin's arguments understand Nader and vice-versa. If there is ever one, that's the greatest achievement of Farhadi's Oscar-nominated screenplay; still, the force of the script enough couldn't have elevated "A Separation" to such a universal and miraculously unanimous acclaim. The film works as a perfect combination of writing, acting and directing to such an extent that it could have easily been nominated to more than two Oscars without garnering much surprise.
Farhadi's direction is perfect for this kind of narrative as it uses a hand-held camera work in many scenes, as to create the dizzying and uncomfortable effect of documentary-like realism. The film reminds of Cassavetes' naturalistic work in the way it conveys a sort of one-set room intimacy and place the viewer in the unsettling situation of a witness, caught in the middle of a scene, I mean by 'scene' an embarrassing and uncomfortable situation. We just see and watch, and our hearts pound from these displays of aggressiveness, hostility, cries, shouts and thankfully sometimes, love and affection. Farhadi's film is a masterpiece of storytelling on that level, proving that even plain dramas can be as emotionally engaging as thrillers, and the film does it so well that the content can invite any audience to question its own legal system, no more or no less immune from similar issues.
Law has been established by men in order to find the truth within the chaotic succession of facts that can speak for two opposite sides, but the genius of "A Separation" is that it deals with a particular situation where no one is aware of all the facts, even the viewer is left with some hints and clues, and can only assemble them as the movie progresses. Razieh (Sareh Beyat) is a young religious mother hired as a caregiver for Nader's father. She has a miscarriage and pretends it was caused by Nader's brutality. Nader claims he didn't know anything about the pregnancy and was upset because she left his father alone. The domino's effect introduces the peripheral characters as Simin wants to protect Termeh from Razieh's hot tempered full-of-debts husband Hodjat (Shahab Hossein) who vents his anger on the system, and through his scene-stealing performance paints an indirect social commentary on actual Iran.
The film is full of confrontations that are some of the most realistic ever: everything in the dialogs and the acting sounds true and make the whole experience so nerve-wracking that we never know if we're embarrassed to see these lives being destroyed or because the script didn't let us determine which side we're supposed to take. But "A Separation" is beyond these sterile considerations: it's not about sides to take or opinions to make, it's about the innate limits of Law. Law is even incarnated by a decent judge who shows some signs of reason and magnanimousness sometimes, and sometimes can't handle Hodjat's outbursts of anger. In a way, he embodies our position as the powerless observer of a situation that goes out of control because it engages a wide range of emotions, sometimes positive, sometimes negative but always sincere, creative a psychological cocktail about to explode if a resolution doesn't come to appease the nerves.
The resolution, or let's say, the conclusion, is satisfying because it never betrays the film's 'philosophy' and leaves us with the penetrating sensation that we've just watched a miracle, a modest creation whose emotional and intellectual force spoke some uncomfortable truths about human nature and its antagonism with Law's cold realism. And on the surface, it also features an Iran far from the current stereotypes launched by the infamous "Not Without My Daughter", where women aren't all submissive chador-wearers and men macho wife-beaters.
(I feel terrible to pollute this review with these comments because they insult the intelligence of the film, which already takes for granted that 'Iranian are normal people' but regarding the actual and scary political context, I guess it's necessary)
I'll just get to the point,
if you are previewing for something to watch, there is no way you can play the 1st 3 minutes of this film and stop. It hooks you straight in, and for me, I LOVE that in films.
the story is just AMAZING, and the way it's portrayed, the director makes sure you are following behind with EVERY MINUTE OF THE FILM, as it unwinds. the casting is just brilliant, as if they were just born to play this film and then die. they achieve in captivating the emotion of the story VERY well. EVERY SINGLE ACTOR int this film did a great job.
what's even more amazing, it's how low budget this film is (300K us$).
as a conclusion; 3 good things about this film; (1) the story-line, well written and well scripted (2) the cast, well selected, and amazing acting (3) the setting, and the lack of a score! (yes, & it was a great idea!)
Wow, i haven't caught a show that's been more real and intense in years. The acting and directing for this film made me feel like i was watching a documentary. That in itself is laudable. As the story unfolds you the viewer is left to guess the plot and to second guess yourself as to who the protagonists or antagonists are in the film. The film manages to grasp and reflect human nature which is complex and multi-faceted. You'd be left guessing and predicting the plot while trying to understand the characters and the choices they make. The film also aids us in understanding the roles of religion and culture... and more into human characteristics that go beyond those. A great film that i'm still thinking about and the acting and directing really shone through it all to help make this film so realistic and personal to the audience. Two thumbs up and no wonder it has been so highly rated!
2011 was especially bleak for films in general with the exception of a
few. This film however towers over all the few bright lights that
emerged and gave it a kick in the chest to bring to life of what has
otherwise been a forgettable year. "A Separation" is a film which hails
from Iran, a country which despite it's oppressive regime has always
managed to surprise the world with a few film gems of it's own, and
this might be the jewel in the crown. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, the
film talks about love, bitterness, sorrow and happiness that befall a
family during it's arduous times. In this case the tumultuous period is
personified by the separation that the two main characters are going
through. This is not because that they are not in love with each other
anymore, but because their circumstances and their goals are far apart
from each other to achieve any hope for reconciliation. The wife wants
to leave for America because she believes that the move will bring hope
to their daughter's life. The husband does not want to go because he
has to care for his ailing father who is suffering from Alzheimer. Both
the causes are noble and are for the things they deeply care about, but
it is also tearing them apart and brings forth further predicaments to
all characters within the film as it puts into perspective the lengths
people will go to protect, not only their families, but also
The film is a return back to grounded realism and the influences to the film can be attributed to Ozu, Satyajit Ray who used simplicity to tell their story to enhance the aspect of reality. The directing in the film uses a perfect pace to piece together the events and the director creates a screen to personify his neutrality, as he engages the crowd to assess what they think. This was a technique used by Ozu with a certain guile which has never been matched, but I am sure even the Japanese Master would appreciate the feat achieved by the director. Farhadi did however use some aspects of fundamental camera grammar created in Hollywood film-making to express the varying reactions to the characters embroiled in it. The writing was ingenious and strayed as far away from melodrama as possible to create a scenario where the screen was inhabited by ordinary people and dealt with their feelings with a certain subtlety rarely seen today. The acting was unbelievable and it strengthened the mood for realism as the director got great performances from Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat and Shahab Hosseini. Their characters were very different and they dealt with their situations as such but the actors hit the note with their characters to show their desperation, their fear, their love in a way which was believable for them to do so. The star of the film was Sareh Bayat who should be nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Razieh, Nader's father's nurse, and it also brought to screen the genius of the young Sarina Farhadi (the daughter of the Director) who was on screen not because of her father, but because she deserved the merit on her own as proved. All in all, this is a great film and it would be a major crime if the Oscars do not recognize it's greatness simply because it is not in English. Nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Actor and Best Supporting Actress are certainly due unless the Academy loses it's brain once again. A great watch for everyone and if you haven't seen it, see it now so that you don't miss out on what has truly been the film of the year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) are a middle-class,
modern, urban Iranian couple. They have been married for fourteen
years, but they're separating. They were going to divorce, but the
court ruled that their situation wasn't dire enough to warrant it. They
each have their side of the story. Simin desires to leave their
country, as she does not want her eleven-year-old daughter, Termeh
(Sarina Farhadi), growing up under current conditions. Nader, on the
other hand, wants to stay so that he can look after his elderly father
(Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's
disease. Their situation becomes much more complicated after an
incident, one directly involving the caregiver Nader hired to watch his
father during the day. What begins as a simple argument between two
people quickly escalates into arduous legal action and a heated battle
over what really happened.
"A Separation" is surely the best film of the year. Apart from being a portrait of characters that are just as fascinating as they are compelling, it's an intelligent and uncompromising examination of culture; within the course of what appears to be a simple narrative, we will have been told a thing or two about gender roles, parenting styles, personal values, the rule of law, and religious beliefs as they apply to present-day Iran. Although not a courtroom drama in the Hollywood sense, it has the superb plotting of a tightly-wound legal thriller, the characters in a desperate struggle to reconstruct a singular event out of several accounts. It is, above all, a timely and universally resonant story of responsibility and truth, the latter of which proves to be open for debate.
I want to word the rest of my review as carefully as possible, as the incident in question is dependent on actions that shouldn't be spoiled. Based on Simin's recommendation, Nader hires a lower-class young woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to be his father's caregiver. Deeply religious, Razieh went against her own traditions by applying for the job without the approval of her husband. She resorted to this only because her family is desperately in need of money. There are three reasons why she proves herself the wrong person for the job, although I will only reveal two of them. First, getting to Nader's apartment requires a grueling commute on several buses. Second, she's forced to bring along her daughter, who's clearly too young to be in an environment of a man with Alzheimer's. It's not just a question of exposure to something potentially traumatic; in her innocence, she doesn't see the harm of fiddling with the pressure knob of his oxygen tank.
My careful wording will now devolve into maddening vagueness. Someone makes a very bad decision, leaving someone else's life at stake. Not long after, something goes missing. The person it belongs to immediately accuses someone else of stealing, and indeed, this someone else does have a motive. This leads to a verbal altercation, which then leads to ... the incident I've alluded to several times now. At this point, an already challenging film transcends itself by drawing us into a twisted moral quandary. Several pivotal characters are introduced as the incident turns legal. We meet Razieh's husband, Houjat (Shahab Hosseini), who has been unemployed for several months now and cannot speak without resorting to anger. We also meet an upstairs neighbor, who may have witnessed something important, and Termeh's teacher, who testifies on behalf of Nader.
Caught in the middle is Termeh, who not only must endure her father's legal troubles but must also watch as both her parents continue to fight. We're repeatedly compelled to ask ourselves which of them truly has her best interests at heart, although that would be senseless simply because it's never as clear cut as we would like it to be. This is the kind of film in which we can identify with both sides of an issue; each character makes valid points, just as each character makes weak arguments. The more we learn about the situation, the murkier it becomes. That's because there's far more on the table than a series of actions.
What it really comes down to are the beliefs with which we shape our lives. For Razieh, it's a matter of her faith, to which she is bound. Consider the fact that she's forbidden from touching a man other than her husband; when she discovers that Nader's father is incontinent and has peed in his pants, she must make a phone call to determine whether or not she can change him. For the secular Nader and Simin, it's a matter of personal pride. One will propose a financial settlement while the other will refuse to take part in it, as it will come off as an admission of guilt. They both think they know best, not just for their daughter but also for the situation at hand. By the end of "A Separation," more than one person will be faced with making a difficult decision, one that will depend entirely on their understanding of what they perceive. And isn't that was truth is? Perception? -- Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)
Today I had the pleasure of watching A Separation, a foreign film that
has been critically-acclaimed for some time now. What we have here is
definitely one of the year's best films. Intriguing, captivating, and
I had no idea that this was going to turn out to be some sort of court drama. I just want to first talk about the direction. Farhadi masterfully constructs these characters, and we enter into a state in their lives where we serve as some sort of observant. Even before the actual plot of the film comes along, his tight screenplay and direction leave us trying to astutely observe what is happening around every corner of the frame. We barely know these characters, and yet, tension is arising from the simplest of every-day matters. Why? Why indeed, as it becomes apparent, the film gets more serious in its plot. It is here that the real reason as to why we are observing moments of these characters' lives comes into focus. Questions arise, as to who did what, and who saw what, and who heard this or that. The film takes a neutral ground in all of this, and yet we ourselves can't help but try to memorize even the smallest of details that could perhaps help us out in figuring out the actual truth. The film never judges its characters, which is why we also have to be sort of neutral in all of this, even when we don't want to, even when we think we know what really happened. This is a mystery in the most unusual and most natural way. We are hooked into the film's plot line, and as much as the film won't let us go, we don't want to let go. We want to hang on and catch up with it, and not miss one single beat of what is happening. Such precise and balanced filmmaking.
I do want to take note of the fantastic performances. The entire cast is wonderful, especially the three main leads. Not one single moment is wasted in their portrayals. Overall, this is a near-perfect film, one of the most intriguing and engaging films of the year, and the ending serves entirely to what had come before, and is fully satisfying.
this is one of the most heart breaking and real movies I have seen this year. you can not leave the movie for even 1 second and characters are such real ones that you start to put yourself in their position and think what would I do? it is a must see movie as Turkish drama lover person i may suggest every drama fan to watch this breath taking real natural real movie. these Iranian people are god's blessings bravo... the actor is like born to act as if he is living his real life. the relationship between daughter and father and wife and husband seem so natural for those who know that culture. I should also add that the performance of the cleaner woman is very satisfactory.
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