Screening Room: A SEPARATION

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(KTSF by Sean Au)

Why this film will win the Best Foreign Picture Academy Award

A married couple in Tehran is going through divorce proceedings. The wife, Simin (Leila Hatami), wants  the  divorce  even though she  contends that her husband is a good man. She has an immigrant visa from another country to leave Iran to pursue a better life for her daugher. The husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi) refuses to leave the country as he insists on staying in Tehran to take care of his father with dementia. The court refuses to grant the couple a divorce.

Simin packs her bags and goes to stay with her parents. Nader has to hire a maid to take care of his father while he is at work. Nader returns home one day to find his father has  fallen off the bed when his hands  were  tied to the bed frame. Nader fires the maid but in the altercation, the maid has a miscarriage which lands Nader back in court, this time facing murder charges.

A SEPARATION takes the audience into the lives of a few good people just trying to live a decent life in modern Tehran, whether they are  devout   Muslims or not. There are no bad characters in the story. Yet, they are  living within the  constraints  of a set of laws established to guide the morals of  people  in  the country . But when it comes to matters of human emotions and their mutual social influences, this set of laws cannot provide the answer.

So despite these characters living in a society fairly distant from ours, they tap into our sympathetic to their predicaments. We root for different characters at different points of the film, and we can feel their pain and helplessness. To make this such a personal experience for the viewer, writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s achievement is nothing short of outstanding.

At the Berlin International Film Festival 2011, A SEPARATION won the Golden Bear for Best Picture, and its ensemble cast won the Best Actor and Best Actress accolades, an unprecedented achievement. With this film, Iran cinema is back in top form as it was in the 1990s.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)rewritten, or redistributed.)

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