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While most reports about Iran have centered on its nuclear program,
"Jodái-e Náder az Simin" (called "A Separation" in English) takes a
look at the lives of the Iranian people. It focuses on a family falling
apart, and how events proliferate from this. Every character is flawed
but well-meaning, and so the audience can't really "side" with one
character over the others. The basic gist of the movie is how this
moral conundrum affects every person.
The movie is now particularly famous because it is the first Iranian movie to win Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Accepting his Oscar last Sunday, director Asghar Farhadi reminded viewers that when there is talk of war, we truly need to see Iran for its great history and not accept a one-dimensional view of it. That was without a doubt the most important part of the ceremony, and "A Separation" is one of the best movies that I've seen in a long time. Definitely worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At a time of great ignorance in the west of life in modern Iran this
film provides some useful insights. I was struck by how similar the
issues are in some ways to those of a British couple facing separation,
yet also by the extent of the cultural differences. The wife wants to
leave the country with her daughter, but her husband has the power to
forbid it. The perceptive teenage daughter is caught between her
parents, and chooses at first to stay with her father in a desperate
attempt to keep her parents together. The wife goes off to live with
her own parents, leaving her estranged husband with the problem of how
to obtain day care for his father, who suffers from dementia. The woman
who is hired for this task through a casual arrangement proves unable
to cope. There is a fascinating scene in which, concerned for the old
man who is incontinent, she phones an imam for advice as to whether it
is permissible for her to help her charge to clean himself. The husband
returns home to find the flat empty and his father in a state, and
matters turn violent when the carer comes back without a good
explanation. In the ongoing dispute, the complexity of the issues is
clearly shown, with right on both sides, and one's sympathies are
This is a tightly plotted and entertaining drama, despite the at times grim theme - a kind of middle eastern update of Kramer versus Kramer (American film about a divorced couple with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman) and in my view much deeper. We are thrust into the midst of some very convincing dramatic exchanges. The Iranian justice system is intriguing as we see the various protagonists crammed into an office, arguing loudly with each other and with the official whose task it is to decide on what seems an arbitrary basis who should be charged and who should be held in jail pending trial. Although harsh, Iranian society seems in some ways more deeply moral and concerned with fairness and right versus wrong than our own. Ironically, as in Britain, the better educated and wealthier couple's rights win out over those of the poorer family.
"Separation" is not just a drama with an appeal which crosses cultural boundaries. It also increased my understanding of Iranian culture and deserves to be more widely viewed to break down our ill-founded prejudices.
I just saw this movie and I highly recommend it. The way the story was
going totally unexpected and many surprises occur throughout the movie.
There is a lot of dialogue and over talking, which makes it a bit hard
to read the subtitles, but you will manage to understand regardless.
The story of the movie is a one that everyone, no matter what the
background is, will relate it. The acting in the movie was
extraordinary, all the women and girls did a great job, both young and
old were superb.
The movie is also educational, since you will get a glimpse of how Iranians are living their lives in Iran. The religious, societal, and family issues that they go through. Also, what I liked in the movie is that it had nothing to do with the Iranian politics, but of course you will be able to see how the regime affects the people.
One of the best movies I've seen in the last couple of years. It just shows you that life is not only black and white. Great characterization, one of those movies where you don't have good and evil characters. It is so deep and well developed, simply filled with greatness and if there was more justice in this world this movie should have won more than "only" one Oscar. Every character is well implemented in the story and it just keeps you in front of the screen until the end. Please see this movie, you won't regret it :) Iran seems to have very talented actors and directors. I'd give 10 to the acting, especially to the young girl Somayah and Peyman Moadi as well. I'm glad I discovered this actor and I hope so to see him in more movies. Really really talented. I promise you, you'll enjoy it. Prepare for the greatness and please see it in the cinema because you'll enjoy it more.
This is one of the very rare movies that manages not to paint the world
in black and white. It shows how the personal situations of different
individuals as well as their emotions can lead to actions that they
later regret. There is no good or bad, the characters are just human,
and in their way they are all right and wrong at the same time.
I very much appreciated the complete lack of stereotypes. The story is a very contemporary one about a divorce, like it could have happened anywhere in the world. Being set in Iran the movie gives an insight into everyday life there, but lets the viewer absorb the impressions without pointing finger. To me it corresponded very well to the Iran I have seen.
¨What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it's written.¨
Critics have been raving about this Iranian film and after finally
getting the chance to see it I can see why they were so pleased with
this social drama. It is a very well told story with great
performances. Filmed mostly with a hand-held camera, the movie feels
very authentic and real. At moments you forget you are seeing a movie,
and feel like you are watching a real family with real problems.
Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, knows what he is doing and delivers a
near perfect film. He captures a glimpse of an Iranian family and lets
the camera tell the story. What at first seems like a movie that's
going to focus on the separation between the husband and wife later
becomes more complicated and interesting when the main character is
charged for murder and we see the way the Iranian law system works. We
also experience how the entire situation affects the different members
of the family. I also liked the final reveal near the ending as I
wasn't sure how the story was going to pay out, and it worked really
well. Most foreign films tend to deal with social issues since these
movies are cheaper to make and they don't count with the costly
productions that Hollywood films have to create spectacular visual
effects and action scenes. That is why more emphasize is put on the
storytelling in order to capture the viewer's attention. The
storytelling here is the center of the movie and we truly care for what
the characters are going through. We can relate to these people despite
their different culture and beliefs. They have to deal with similar
issues that most families need to deal with, and that is what makes A
Separation a universal movie.
Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) are getting a divorce because Simin wants to leave Iran and find better job opportunities in another country. They have been waiting over a year for their Visa to go through and once they finally get it Nader decides he doesn't want to leave the country because he has to take care of his father (Ali Asghar Shahbazi) who has Alzheimer. Simin won't leave without her daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), but she wants to stay with her father since she knows that if she stays her mother won't leave. Simin ends up moving to her mother's home and since she's gone Nader has to find someone that can take care of his father while he is at work. He hires a pregnant lady named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) who stays at the house while he's off to work. Razieh is very religious and she doesn't feel like she should be working at an adult male's home, but she has to take the job since her husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), is in debt and without work. One day Nader arrives home only to find the door locked and no one answering. He finds a spare key and enters his home only to find his father lying on the floor tied to the bed. Nader unties his father and gives him respiration and fortunately he survives. In the middle of the chaos, Razieh returns to the house and Nader is so furious that he pushes her out of the door. The next day Nader is called to court since Razieh loses her baby and wants to charge him for murder. This is where the mystery of what really happened begins as both sides try to prove their point.
A Separation recently won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign film and rightfully so because it's a powerful film. It will probably be one of the nominated films for the Oscars, and as much as I liked this movie I still didn't find it as powerful as other foreign films I've seen such as City of God, The Prophet, and The Secret in Their Eyes. This Iranian film is still great, but I don't think it would be on my top 5 list of the year. It's still a strong and memorable movie and probably the best foreign film of the year. The performances are also really great, I really loved these characters and they had real good material to work with. For those people who think everything in Iran has to do with terrorism, then they should definitely see this movie and realize that most Iranians are just normal citizens like everyone else. The one thing that director Farhadi does seem to criticize about his country is the way that the law system works. There aren't any lawyers involved, every man has to defend himself in front of a judge like if they were having a normal conversation. A Separation is a great film and no wonder it became the first ever film to win three Bears from the Berlin International Film Festival. This film is worth checking out, and I would really like to see Farhadi's previous work since I wasn't familiar with him before this.
Asghar Farhadi amazes me. When I first heard about "About Elly" I
wasn't sure what it was going to be like but when I sat down to watch
the movie I was literally blown away by the writing, acting and the
direction of course. Still, I wasn't sure if he could repeat the same
success with "Nader and Simin" and yet again I was blown away.
"Nader and Simin" is more than anything an experience, pretty much like 10 by Abbas Kiarostami was but with acting taking the place of realism and striking even more powerful. The plot for me didn't matter, what did, was the settings, the court scenes and how fluent and realistic every character's actions or dialogs were.
You feel for every character, you laugh and cry with all of them and still you may just as well hate them for no reason at all.
There's also the often presented questions with no answers: Who's the girl going to choose? Who took the money? Who's to blame? and ... and the answer is clear as hell, who cares? As long as there's a great story to tell and an amazing two hours to spend on a splendid product, who really cares?
All in all, I have to admit that this is cinema at its best and this movie isn't at least nominated for an Oscar for foreign language film then I'm definitely losing my whole faith in the Academy Awards for ignoring such a wonderful installment only because of political beliefs.
'A SEPARATION': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
This year's likely winner for Best Foreign-Language film at the Academy Awards (in which it's also nominated for best original screenplay) is this Iranian drama about a couple living in Iran who separate and the complicated problems that arise because of it. It was written, produced and directed by Asghar Farhadi. The movie stars Peyman Maadi and Leila Hatami as the couple and Sareh Bayat and Sarina Farhadi in key supporting roles. The movie is an all around grade A production and a powerful realistic drama about arguments and pride and how they can easily get the best of us.
The movie revolves around Nader (Maadi) and Simin (Hatami) and their 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Farhadi). The three live in Tehran with Nader's father who has Alzheimer's disease. Simin wants to travel abroad in order to provide better opportunities for Termeh but Nader feels obligated to stay in Iran and take care of his father. So when Simin leaves home Nader is forced to hire a caregiver named Razieh (Bayat) to take care of his dad while he's at work. Many more complications and arguments arise when Razieh is hurt on the job.
The movie is said to be an honest and accurate depiction of life in Iran but I found it to be a very honest and accurate depiction of people and life in general, showing how similar we all really are. The disagreements that so easily get out of control in this movie are ones I think we can all relate to. The characters in this movie represent so many in many ways. That's where I think the movie's biggest strength is. The acting, writing and directing are all top notch and combine together to give a very real portrayal of human life and how we all interact with each other.
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1.The movie Challenges viewers by making lots of questions about "Law"
, "Judgment" ,... in their minds which can obsess one's mind for quite
a long time . These questions are formed in viewers' minds and it's
remarkable that The answers are not direct and fulsome , in other words
you can see a gray layer over the whole movie(There's no pure right and
2.The actors are completely into their roles and they represent classic roles so that they take viewers in the movie with themselves . "Asghar Farhadi" has been really cautious about all the roles and he's been able to depict the scenes very naturally and believably .
3.The pace is normal , the scenes don't bore you or flash too quickly , and it should be considered as one of it's many good points that make it a brilliant movie .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The proliferation of major and minor awards is no result of chance, but
well earned. Almost as real-life as a documentary, "A separation" deals
out more issues than you can think of family relationship across
three generations, social class separation, religion, politics, human
frailty, selfishness and forgiving, tolerance and intolerance, rigid
stubbornness and insecurity
.the list goes on through efficiently
constructed scenes and clear, effective dialogue. The performance of
the cast is uniformly excellent.
The outwardly somewhat complicated plot and proliferation of characters can be deconstructed first into two core families of three. Middle-class Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), husband and wife, plus 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) comprise one. Working-class Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini) and Razieh (Sareh Bayat) with a 4-year-old daughter is the other. The link is through Razieh being employed as a domestic assistant to look after Nader's dementia-inflicted father when Simin moves out to her parent's in protest of Nader's refusal to emigrate, placing the aged father's welfare before the daughter's future. A seasoned moviegoer would immediately see the vast dramatic potentials in this family for the script-writer and director.
With the other family, the predicaments are familiar: a husband who cannot control his temper fails repeatedly to hold on to a job (remember "Airport"?) and turns anti-society, debtors constantly on their back, and a long suffering wife who is pregnant. The key plot element, the conflict between these two families, starts with Razieh's negligence on the job and escalates to her losing the baby and charging Nader with murder, as the foetus is more than a certain number of days old.
While I mentioned Rashomon in my summary line, there is no contrived, convoluted plot. The gradual revelation of what really happened is matter-of-fact. The plot line is not the end, but only the means to anchor all the various human issues I mentioned. Throughout the movie, you'll be completely absorbed in the hopes and fears, aspirations and woes of these people, not because they are melodramatic but because they are convincing. And you'll talk about it long after the movie ends.
This latest Oscar Best Foreign Film is a must-see.
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