A SeparationA review - by Shlomoh Sherman
February 26, 2012
A Separation [Iranian title: Jodaeiye Nader az Simin](2011)
Also Known As: Nader y Simin, una separación
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Peyman Maadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat
Plot Keywords: Iran - Divorce - Alzheimer's Disease - Koran - Father Daughter Relationship
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material
Release Date: March 16, 2011 (Iran)
Filming Locations: Tehran, Iran
Company Credits: Production Co: Asghar Farhadi
Box Office Budget: $800,000 (estimated)
Run Time: 123 minutes
Taglines: Ugly truth, sweet lies
Quote: Nader: What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it's written.
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 Alzheimers.
This is the story of a couple whose marriage is coming apart. The husband (Nader) and wife (Simin) appear to love each other but each has a different direction planned for their lives. Simin wishes to leave Iran to relocate abroad [America?] but Nader wants to remain in Iran because he doesn't wish to leave his aged father who is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Neither of the spouses is willing to accomodate the other or even to understand what is driving the other. They have an eleven year
old daughter, Termeh, whose life is made difficult due to the parental strife. As if things were not bad enough, Nader becomes involved in a series of incidents which land him in a court case in which he is accused of the murder of a pregnant woman's unborn fetus. As the action of the film moves along, we learn that Nader is actually innocent of the crime attributed to him. The woman's husband is willing to drop the charges in court but in order to save face, he wants Nader to pay him "blood money" for unborn's death. Ignoring the pleading of Simin to settle the case by paying the woman family, Nader's narcissistic machoism draws him and Simin deeper into a legal and social morass from which there appears to be no resolution.
Simin finally realizes that Nader wil not relent and act to resolve any family issues. She therefore presses him for a divorce so that she may leave Iran. In the final scene, the couple has brought Termeh before a judge to tell the court which parent she will remain with. But the audience never learns what her choice is. The film ends with Termeh asking the judge to remove her parents from the courtroom before she tells him what she wants to do.
Her decision is really not the important issue at the film's end. The audience is left with the knowledge that the parents' selfish behavior, and their completely ignoring the daughter's emotional pain will continue her sadness no matter what she chooses.
When I went to see A SEPARATION with the Cleveland Independent Movie Goers, I had no idea that it was a foreign film, much less an Iranian one. Because Iran is news, as "current events", cast in the West as a rogue, criminal state, my immediate thoughts as the film began were 'Oh why do I have to see a movie about THOSE people?" But as the movie moved along, I became involved with the characters as human beings rather than as Iranians. We are given a glimpse of people very much like ourselves, with the same problems and dilemmas, letting egos get in the way and making incorrect and ineffective choices to solve them.
As I write this review, A SEPARATION has just won the Oscar as best foreign-language film of 2011. Director Asghar Farhadi who accepted the award made the comment that he hoped Iranians watching the Awards would be happy and forget for a brief moment how politics has caused tension between our two countries.
Peyman Maadi ... Nader
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