F I L M R E V I E W F R I D A Y
A Separation is the winner of the Best Foreign Language Film award at this year’s Academy Awards. I would highly recommend this film to any of my blog readers. The story takes place in contemporary Iran. The language spoken is Persian.
This is a story of unfortunate events. The film opens with Simin, a wife, asking the courts to grant her a divorce. She explains that she wants to leave Iran and live abroad with her husband, Nadar, and daughter, Termeh. She has made all the necessary arrangements for their departure. The only problem is that Nadar refuses to go, as he feels a deep responsibility to care for his elderly father who has Alzheimer’s. Simin decides to, at least, leave her non-compliant husband, and moves in with her mother.
Nadar hires Razieh, a deeply religious woman, to take care of his father while he’s at work. Razieh is pregnant but does not tell her husband, Hodjat, that she is working. She takes the job because she wants to help him pay back his creditors. However, it’s not long before major problems arise with the arrangement — problems with serious legal and religious implications.
This is the best Iranian film I’ve ever seen, okay, it’s the only Iranian film I’ve ever seen. Still, I found it beautifully acted. The direction is perfect. The symbol of partitions and literal separations are used throughout the film very effectively. The characters are flawed and complex which only serves to heighten the drama. I became fully involved in the character’s lives from the start. Interestingly, I found the divide, between the values of Iranian society and our western society, vanished in the telling of this sad story. What emerges, almost immediately in that first scene, is the sense that despite our cultural differences we are very much the same people. It’s the human experience, how we deal with tragedy and trials, what we feel and the choices we make, that tie us together.
SEE IT if you’d like to experience a slice of Iranian life, if you love a good story and like to leave the theater still feeling attached to the characters. DON’T SEE IT if you’re a closed minded simpleton.
Good review, maybe I’ll check it out. Love the see it/don’t see it at the end.
Thanks, Guapo. I think most intelligent people will like this – that would include you, in case you were wondering : ) It doesn’t have car crashes and chase scenes but the story builds and keeps you involved. I felt like I left the theater and had been to Iran. It was eye opening.
I’d never even heard of this film until you mentioned it. Seems really good, especially since you gave it an A+! I will try to see it and spread the word! I like the word Persian. I don’t know why, I just do.
I know, very experimental of me. Actually, since it won an academy award it wasn’t too much of a risk. It’s just a good tight story that gets you involved. Like I said to Guapo, I felt like I had just spent time in Iran – you know, without having to actually go. haha!
Haha yeah that’s a nice aspect! And slightly exhausting?
Sounds like a very interesting film I will definitely check this one out, thanks for not only the review but bring this film to my attention, I had not heard of it at all. 🙂
Hopefully you’ll like it. It’s hard not to appreciate the story. I related on some emotional level to each of the characters — let me know what you think.
My daughter downloaded and watched this the other day.. As a filmaker, she too gave it A++++++..
I am watching it tomorrow..
Thanks Free Penny! I think you’ll really like it. It leaves you thinking about the characters well after you leave the theater. (always the mark of a good film)
Where is your daughter studying film, or has she already graduated?
She is graduating next month from Ringling Art school..:-)
I’ll seek this out–you find the best obscure films!! I’m sure if it’s not around here, it’ll be a short train ride away.
What is the best film you’ve seen recently, and the worst?
The worst…hmm, so many to chose from… Probably “W.E.” or “The Vow” or “Wanderlust.” Those are all pretty dreadful.
The best of 2012 so far… I’ve enjoyed the studio film, “Safe House.” But “A Separation,” which was released in 2011, has been the best I’ve seen in 2012. A lot of foreign films are “platformed,” meaning they’re staggered in their release.
I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s supposed to be very good.
“The Kid With A Bike” – A Belgian Movie
I also have to drive a little to get to the good ones. That’s why I’m usually stuck with things like, The Vow! haha!
This is a great film, being open to interpretation on multiple levels. For example, if one follows carefully the dialogue in the first scene it is clear that Nader’s reasons for not wanting to leave Iran are many and the demented father’s need for care is but one, which according to Simin is just an excuse for the real one’s! In a later scene he accuses Simin of being weak and wanting to flee the country instead of standing up to the challenges. Do not forget that the film was made under Iranian ‘circumstances’!
You’re exactly right, Baddu. In an effort to keep my reviews short I don’t go into much detail. But the fact that there are so many layers of understanding makes this film especially smart. I hope a lot of people go out and see it. It’s very well done. Thanks for your comment!
What’s your favorite foreign language film and/or foreign film of all-time? And Guy Ritchie movies don’t count. I know they’re foreign and impossible to understand and all, but that’s not what I’m looking for.
Nadar is an Iranian name? I’m writing something about terrorists and the main one is named Nadu. Totally made up the name and it could be a real one.
Four come to mind immediately but I have many favorites.
Life is Beautiful – Italian
Raise The Red Lantern – Chinese
Pan’s Labyrinth – Spanish
The Red Balloon – French
It’s hard to keep track of Iranian names. Those I had to look up. It’s enough for me to concentrate on the sub-titles. Nadu sounds about right! hahaha!
Now, I would have never thought of going to see this movie, but now I’m going too. Oh boy, a really good movie, I can’t wait. it’s so rare when one comes along! I loved Raise the Red Lantern too. I’ll have the check out the other ones you’ve listed. Great review, Lisa!
Thanks, Linda! I think we may have the same taste in movies, we both liked Remains of the Day and Raise the Red Lantern, so I feel good about recommending this. You know I’ve seen so many bad ones lately that this movie was a nice surprise, a quality film for a change. : )
Well the last movie I went to was Melancholia. I liked it. It was kind of haunting. I find myself thinking about it. So I guess it made more of an impression on me than I thought it was going to. Good movies are getting few and far between! It sounds like we do have the same taste in movies.
I am such a foreign film buff…I just might check myself into this film tonight.
When I lived in Washington, DC, I always went to this certain bakery near my office. Once day, the owners and the bakers all crowded around me. Why? I looked just like their aunt from Kuwait. (They were Kuwaiti.) Didn’t have the heart to tell them that I am a 1/4 Icelandic.
One of my best friends in high school while growing up in L.A. was Mina Zand…just in from Tehran in 1981. I guess I feel a kinship all the way around with these people; whom I guess I look like. Your thoughts?
You have one of those faces that I’ll call, ‘international.’ I could easily imagine you to be Spanish, Armenian, Italian, Any of the Middle Eastern countries, etc. I remember that you’re a 1/4 Icelandic – I think the dark hair throws me but you have the height and the bod.
I think you’ll like this movie. It’s very engaging and ends up being a real slice of Tehran life.
If you peruse the comments I think you’ll see that ‘Baddu’ gave a better review in his little paragraph than I did!! haha!
nice review… it may get me to check it out!!!
(I’m not much of a movie seer, but…)
I really thought it was worthwhile. A quality film. Let me know what you think if you end up going.