Film #09. A Separation (2011, Iran)

A Separation (2011)
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat
Language: Persian

The Academy-Award-winning film starts with a long-take courtroom scene of a married couple, Simin and Nader, seeking for a divorce. Simin, the educated wife with a stable job as a teacher, argues for an agreement from her husband to migrate from Iran, their home country where she decides not to raise her eleven-year-old daughter, Termeh. Nader, the diligent husband working as a banker, adamantly refuses to go abroad, primarily to look after his deteriorating father with Alzheimer’s Disease. After 4 minutes of heated contention, they leave the courtroom without a resolution. Upon reaching their apartment, Simin packs up and leaves for her parents and Nader hires a housekeeper who would take care of his sickly father in his absence. For the remaining two hours we’ve got to see the series of full-blown disputes, confrontations and frustration that have led to, and resulted from, their separation.

Through the process of dealing with the conflicts with Razieh, the poor housekeeper from a struggling family, we’ve get to see a microcosm of the Iranian society where disagreement and lies are prevalent between the middle- and low-class people who merely communicate on the basis of their religious virtues. With an ensemble of extremely convincing acting and surprisingly realistic script, Asghar Farhadi presents a revealing portrayal of family breakup with a penetrating insight into the Iranian norms of family and faith that easily appeal to international viewers who have pretty much similar daily concerns of raising children, behaving morally, saving money, etc.

On the side note, I was impressed by Leila Hatami (Simin)’s stunning beauty reminded me of those of the Hollywood actresses like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. I hope to see her again as a global actress amongst Penelope Cruz, Zhang Ziyi and Monica Bellucci, as long as her freedom would allow.

9/10

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