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Plot: 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 Alzheimer's disease. Runtime: 123 mins Release Date: 16 Mar 2011
If mainstream cinema leaves you soulless, see this film. If you have a modicum of intelligence, see this film. If you like great acting and directing, see this film. If you like great writing and editing, see this film. If you have an interest in law, see this film.If you are a parent, see this film. A Separation is not harrowing or depressing. Fear not as I did before. If you don't like subtitles, you will forget they are there. Do not read any more detailed reviews. Go without preconception. A Separation deserves all the plaudits it is getting and deserves a much wider audience. <more>
Minimalistic and economic, a Separation is one of the finest, most chiselled pieces of cinema of this millennium.
Asghar Farhadi's new film after the ingenious 'About Elly' is running for the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival and, with half of the competition done and the rest of the program not looking too promising, appears to be an almost inevitable winner. Although maybe it won't for that very reason: Jahar Panahi's repeat inability to attend his jury duties because of Iran's government refusal to issue him a travel permit, a retrospective of his works including the 2006 Silver Bear-winning 'Offside', a variety of other Iranian productions and renewed <more>
demonstrations in Iran proper put the spotlight firmly on that country's elaborate, yet constrained film industry. All that buzz may outshine the film's artistic value, and prompt the jury to go for a less favored competitor. I should hope not, for Farhadi manages once again to embed lots of social criticism into a straight-laced, realistic narrative.As in 'About Elly', the story begins rather unassumingly and takes an abrupt turn into a spiral of increasingly dramatic events: Nader and Simin are a couple about to break up over the question of moving abroad, for which they have obtained a permit after waiting for 18 months. Nader, however, has his father to take care of, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. Sirin still wants to leave, but not without her daughter yes, pun intended Termeh, a somewhat shy, bespectacled 11-year-old who cannot accept her parents' break-up. She therefore decides to stay with her father, which prompts Simin not to leave the country, but move to her mother. Nader is thereby forced to hire someone to take care of his dad, and a colleague of Sirin recommends the pregnant Razieh. Being deeply religious, she should not work in a single man's household, but her husband has been out of a job for a long time and is threatened with jail by his creditors. Her pregnancy and the necessity to attend to her daughter additionally stress her out. When Nader comes home one day to find his father left alone and tied to his bed, a struggle with the returning Razieh ensues, with catastrophic consequences for everyone around...This is a much more complicated set-up than in 'About Elly', but it allows Farhadi to put a lot of additional information into his film as may be obvious to those who are just trying to follow the story I hesitate to give examples because the film is as of yet to be released in Iran, which means an open-source comment such as this one needs to be carefully phrased . Much of the action takes place in courtrooms, where judges try to negotiate between the parties without any lawyers present. There's a lot of familiarity, and also a lot of menace, which succeeds to create the same climate of anxiety, accusation and deceit as in 'About Elly'. The realism of the narrative is embedded into a carefully planned scenography which makes almost every shot linger in the memory. And as in 'About Elly' the decisive moment, the one that solves the mystery is omitted in the picture, only to be explained verbally at the very end.What makes me feel even more for this film is the fact that it might be the last film of its kind from Iran for some time. Ali Samadi Ahadi, the German-Iranian director of the comedy 'Salami Aleikum' and the upcoming documentary on the July 2009 protests 'The Green Wave', wrote that the film industry has come to a virtual standstill. 'Nader and Simin' was in development at the time of the protests; since then, regulations have become far more repressive, with even established masters like Kiarostami or Makhmalbaf forced to work abroad, and others threatened with jail and work prohibitions, of whom Panahi is only the most famous example. All the more reason to give this film the credit it deserves - winning Berlin may cause Iran's bureaucrats to reconsider, for cinema is almost the last link remaining to our world. Without film, how could we understand that Iranians are a modern people with issues like our own, and not dangerous fanatics as some media and politicians would have us believe?
unsaid words can turn into a separation (by mrbarooee)
It seems that a court room drama could be the best place for Frahadi to recreate his very own world and confront us with a short and somehow faraway situations and incidents in life. We think these kinds of happenings and conflicts would not take place in our lives but with his realistic world and characters they seem so close and possible to anyone. Asghar Farhadi loves to put his audience in place of judge, as his other pictures like About Eli or Fireworks Wednesday and here with no fear he takes us straight to a court room. But the thing is that the judge does not provide any help for us <more>
to make a clear judgment and surprisingly makes the situation even more complicated. Yes Farhadi doesn't want us to make a judgment, He makes us watch and observe and leave the theater with a big fork in front of us.It Seems that any single decision creates another world full of forks and not taken ways.when nobody is clearly guilty and the line between black and white is so dim. And again here we are in Frhadi's powerful hands surprised to the end of the movie. You can't leave your chair even for one second because the story never lets you to lose even a single moment. And like a tennis ball we're always being shot from this side to the other. And finally we are the daughter shocked and disable to make a decision. May be we haven't seen or we don't want to see this side of life, where nothing is clear, when small lies and unimportant undone things and unsaid words gang up against us and turn to a big disaster. Frahadi has found his own world and his own language and his own version of life. Something we'd never seen before. We appreciate that. He can easily bombard us with information and surprise us with tiny details that seem nothing but like a snowball rolling down a slope they can form a big drama.
Do yourself a favor - make sure you see this movie (by krisrox)
Caught "A Separation" in Amsterdam last night, fully unprepared for its greatness. I hadn't been swept off my feet for a while, but this Iranian Hitchcockian drama sucked us in for 123 minutes and left us very, very impressed.I'm mainly writing this review to assure every non-Iranian IMDb-reader that you absolutely SHOULD see "A Separation". I will be shocked if this movie doesn't win an Academy Award. The acting is great, and the script is probably the best I've seen in five years. The genius of Asghar Farhadi's story is that it piles on the tension <more>
and drama without resorting to fireworks, trickery or shock and awe plot effects. It also manages to perfectly balance the plights of several protagonists. Very few screenwriters have this capacity.If this movie reminds me of anything, it is "Ladri di Biciclette" Bicycle Thieves , which has a similar seemingly "simple" story setup. But then "A Separation" is much more developed, much more complex, much richer. Go see it.
And it comes from Iran. The first thing you read on the screen is "In the name of God". Well, anyway it's the best story, the best cutting, the best actors you've seen for long. And few films are that stomach-turning, although there's hardly any physical violence.A wife wants to go abroad. Her husband can't because he wants to take of his senile father. The wife moves and the husband hires a woman to look after his father.And then the screw turns, although most of the story takes place in everyday Iranian life. The center of it all is perhaps the daughter, who is <more>
nearly teared apart. But it takes time until you realize that. Anyway, I can almost guarantee you sit the film through, until the final post-texts has passed.So amazingly clever.
Iranian cinema lands in the west with a bang. Phenomenal. (by markgorman)
I've never seen an Iranian move but the country has a rich movie culture that has broken through with A Separation which won the Golden Bear, best actor and best actress awards at Berlin earlier this year. And I can understand why.Don't go expecting lavish cinematography, this is shot on hand held cameras, or certainly on fairly shaky tripods throughout, often under the harsh glare of fluorescent lighting that throws a watery blue cast over the action at times. But that is highly appropriate because this movie has a creeping sense of voyeurism throughout as the intensely private <more>
happenings of a family, and perhaps country, in turmoil steadily build up into a furious climax.The plot is complex to say the least, but one can keep up by fully concentrating on each twist and turn of this micro-thriller.The oppression of the Koran in this staunchly Muslim country carries a heavy burden throughout the film and it's the most frequently used prop as one of the characters in particular, the victim of a central crime, seeks spiritual guidance throughout. It's importance and oppression is palpable.The story concerns the vain attempts of a wife superbly acted by Leila Hatami to leave Tehran with her husband to improve the life of their 12 year old daughter. But the husband cannot force himself to leave his Alzheimer's afflicted father behind and so stalemate ensues and divorce becomes the only alternative, this results in a separation and so the father played to perfection by Peyman Moaadi is forced to hire a nurse to look after his desperately sad father during the day.One thing leads to another and inadvertently the husband pushes the nurse so that she ends up aborting her child.This sets off a horrendous chain of events that I will not reveal here for fear of spoiling it for you.Suffice to say the tension mounts throughout the movie and culminates in a heartbreaking decision for the couple's 12 year old daughter that is resolved in a way that Michael Hanneke would applaud vigorously.This movie deals with important themes of family loyalty more than love , duty, the oppression and folly of religion and pride.Without overbearing pride much of the consequences of this film would not happen. Time and again you silently shout at the screen "just do the right thing and this mess will be resolved." They never do.It could almost be played for laughs so farcical are the the situations the main protagonists find themselves in. But this is no comedy, far from it. It's a tearjerker and feels bitterly real, believable and often futile.It's as good as its billing. See it.
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 <more>
the action. However, apart from this, I thought it was excellent.
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 <more>
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 themselves.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.
A Peek into Iran's Family, Religious and Justice Systems (by 3xHCCH)
"A Separation" is the foreign-language film of this year's awards season. After it won the Golden Globes last week, you know it is a cinch to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film and most probably win the coveted prize for its country of origin, Iran."A Separation" is about a middle-class Iranian family. In the first scene, husband and wife are divorcing after 14 years of marriage because of a disagreement on migration. Wife wants a better life abroad, while husband does not want to leave his Alzheimer-stricken dad. Caught in the middle is their 12-year old <more>
daughter. When wife leaves their home, the husband hires a poor woman to be his dad's caretaker while he is at work. From there, this harrowing family and societal drama evolves into situations you will not expect. The climax and the ending were so effectively executed. You will not want to leave even while the final credits are already rolling.It appears that director Azghar Farhadi is really a big name in Iran, and that he already has previous acclaimed films. I will want to check them out. His control of his story and his actors who you would not even remember are acting is amazing. You get sucked into the story, and you will not want to get to the bottom of things until the final resolution. It has an underlying allusion to the conflict between the old and the new customs. It is an interesting peek into the family dynamics, religion and criminal justice system in Iran. I have seen only one other nominee in the last Golden Globe, "The Flowers of War." The scope and genre of the two films are vastly different and is hard to compare. But I could say that "A Separation" is the tighter and better- written film.