The first time I heard about "A Separation" was when Roger Ebert named it the best film of 2011 in his famous Top-Ten list. A few months later the Academy Awards ceremony came and awarded this film an Oscar for best foreign-language film and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, which only seemed to further fuel my need to watch this film.
Last night I finally decided to give this film a chance and the only thing I regret is not giving myself the opportunity to watch it sooner, "The Artist" was definitely the best film of 2011 in my humble opinion, but "A Separation" is a close second.
This film focuses on an Iranian couple who decide to separate. While Simin (Leila Hatami) wants the couple to move abroad and take their 11 year old daughter Termeh with them, Nader (Peyman Moaadi) wants them to stay in Tehran in order to take care of his elderly father who lives with the family and suffers from advanced Alzheimer's disease. After they're unable to reach an agreement, the family law attorney suggests that Simin files for divorce, forcing Nader to find a caretaker for his father.
Do not be mistaken, "A Separation" does not focus on the divorce that Nader and Simin are going through. But on the issues that arise after this separation. A film that tries its best to teach us the importance of the family structure and hierarchy, the importance of religion in the middle east and a deep view on how humans behave under pressure.
The film itself is beautifully crafted, the shots of the city of Tehran definitely make the viewer look at the country of Iran under a different light. The aesthetically pleasing interior shots show us a delightful combination of traditional Persian design combined with a late 60's/early 70's western style. The way Director Asghar Farhadi captures a modern city of Tehran is truly notable.
"What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it's written."However, the strength of "A Separation" lies on the basic elements of film making that movie makers so commonly forget such as character development, a well-developed script and strong dialog is what makes "A Separation" a truly awe-inspiring film.
At first I thought i would find this film difficult to relate to, however after spending nearly two hours with the two leads I came to realize that this could be the story of any western family, the notable performances by Hatami and Mooadi further help the film achieve the Director's vision.
The script gives us a chance to interpret the chain of events that unravel in front of our eyes, which makes for a very interesting concept as there aren't really any villains or heroes in this film. And while the story seems pretty linear at first we're given a few twists that make the story develop in a highly emotional way.
As a foreign film lover I feel "A Separation" deserved a nod for Best Film at the Oscars (perhaps instead of the snore fest that was "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"?) While I haven't personally watched a lot of movies from the Middle-East I will definitely keep my eyes open in the future for works of art like this film.