(For SI blog reader unknownvirus who first recommended this gem and accurately predicted it’d win the Oscar)
Salaam Aleikum, I have a religious question.
I am working in a house.
There’s an old man I’m supposed to care for.
I wanted to ask, pardon me, but he has wet his pants.
I wanted to know if I change him, will it count as a sin?
– Old man’s caretaker Razieh to the clerics (??) in A Separation
Producer, Director and Writer – Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat and Sarina Farhadi
Release Date: February, 2011
Awards: Oscar, Golden Globe etc
A Separation is a brilliant film.
Richly deserving of the Best Foreign Film Oscar, the Golden Globe and several other encomiums heaped upon it.
The kind of film that the Bollywood mongrels will never be able to make in a million years!
SI has not seen a better film than A Separation in the last 12 months
At times, I wonder why I’m even reviewing this majestic drama for all ye schmucks forever bent down at the altar of the Chutiya Bachchans and Chutiya Khans.
Collapse of a Family
A Separation is a simple Iranian family drama.
But one that’s told beautifully.
None of that high octane shooting, leaping and chasing stuff, the computer graphics gimmickry or the item numbers and picturesque foreign locales (so beloved of our Bollywood producers) in this film.
The opening scene is a divorce court.
A couple is facing the camera and explaining the rationale for the divorce application.
This is not your standard couple approaching a divorce court. The two partners Simin and her husband Nader still love each other and, of course, their young daughter Termeh.
But there’s a problem in Eden. Otherwise, the couple wouldn’t be at the divorce court, right?
Simin has got a visa and is desperate to leave Iran for a better life abroad. But Nader refuses to accompany her.
Soon, Simin packs up her bags and quits the house, leaving behind her 11-year-old daughter Termeh, Nader and her senile father-in-law who cannot take care of himself.
When Nader appoints a young lady Razieh to take care of his senile father, things slowly start spiraling out of control and ultimately comes crashing horribly down on the family in ways that no one ever expected.
Before we know, Nader is arrested for murder!
The movie is a highly realistic exercise in its portrayal of events that could happen to any family anywhere in these times.
The acting is all round excellent, the photography pleasing and there’s not a single frame out of place.
Leila Hatami plays Simin, Peyman Moaadi is the tense, harried Nader, Shahab Hosseini is cast as the angry, depressed Hodjat and Sareh Bayat is Hodjat’s wife and caretaker Razieh.
Each one is superb and together they deliver a riveting drama rarely seen on the screen these days.
Director Asghar Farhadi’s real-life daughter Sarina Farhadi is excellent as the young Termeh caught in the maelstrom of the turmoil and emotions wrought by her parents’ separation.
If Sarina were in the U.S., she would be the next Jennifer Lawrence.
I’ve always considered brilliant those movies that are deeply rooted in the local milieu and bring to life on the screen a vivid drama set in the culture and times of the place.
Not these wild Bollywood flights of escapist fantasy that are completely divorced from the everyday lives of people.
Within the framework of the divorce proceedings and its horrid impact on the family, A Separation richly captures the current social milieu of Iran, the aspirations of its middle class, the status of women, the role of religion, rigidity of the court, the plight of the ailing aged folks when everyone in the family goes to work or school and the choices the underprivileged are forced to make for sheer survival.
It requires a filmmaker of Asghar Farhadi’s talents to encapsulate the social settings and weave it together so deftly into the family drama.
Farhadi’s achievements are all the more amazing given the constraints filmmakers and other artistes operate under in Iran.
What I mistakenly considered as sloppy editing in one instance turned out to be a nice twist that’s disclosed only toward the end.
Above all, what sets apart A Separation from the countless movies that make their debut every Friday is the top-notch writing.
By the way, the film was also nominated for the Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.
You don’t need a superhero or a Tiger to light up the screen with simian antics.
A Separation is ample proof that there’s rich drama in the everyday lives of even ordinary people just waiting to be captured on celluloid.
All you need is a talented director, a meticulously imaginative writer and a stellar cast.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends A Separation. The movie should be available on Netflix, Amazon and Blockbuster in the U.S.
If you’re going to watch just just one movie this year, A Separation should be that move.