Direction: Asghar Farhadi Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi Cast: Perman Maadi, Leila Hatami
Only 22 more days for the Academy Awards. So sticking to the theme party we will be reviewing some Oscar movies for some days.Watching this movie was one of the best things I did in 2011, and what a beautiful film it was. So we are kicking of the Oscar party with possibly the movie that will win the Best Foreign Film Award and the Best Original Screenplay Award.
A Separation is the story that unfolds with the divorce of a well to do couple in Iran. Simin wants to move out of the country to give a better life for her daughter but Nader has to take care of his father who is helpless due to Alzhimer’s disease. The film begins with this most routine act which could happen between any man and women in this society, and transcends into something that knocks at the doorsteps of concepts like religion, honesty and truth. This foreign language film starts becoming Universal.
Nadir is intelligent. He has his own ideals which he holds onto and which he imparts to his daughter. He is stern but at the same time encourages her to to think independently. We witness wonderful lessons in parenting from Nadir. Simin is an independent women herself but more suspecting and rigid. Stuck between them is the daughter who is studious, bright but confused. Beautiful characterizations. Each character we come across are wonderfully carved to perfection and they seem so effortlessly alive.
From parenting to commitments to our own parents the film begins its exploration of Truth. Everyone has their own version of truth. We choose to mould it to suit our needs, right? Harmless lies or holding back facts. As the film progresses all your perceptions about truth get twisted and skewed. But the beauty is the film doesn’t leave it open ended. It answers the questions and that too very well.
The film unfolds with a lot of characters and problems coming into the lives of our family, testing and taking them through. This film has this unfolding narrative which is unpredictable. That was what I loved the most abut A Separation. It was like learning, you never know what you discover through each scene. This is some exemplary work with the screenplay. It is surprisingly gripping but at the same time refreshing that it doesn’t take a toll on you.
Let me remind you that our story is taking place in one of the most religiously rigid places. Apt arena to question religion, faith and values. There is a scene in which the housekeeping lady at Nadir’s place consults a religious head about a humane action she does. She knows she did it most selflessly and without any ulterior intentions but is unsure about the dictation her faith has taught her. Is that true faith or the one that guides us from within? Brilliant.
Top notch performances by all the cast. There is no melo-drama but a lot of subtlety. The characters seem to be in such a sync that you believe they are living on screen. Realism becomes a natural by product of this. The father daughter relationship, mother daughter relationship, a helpless husband, dying oldman, the rich poor divide what not! the story has everyone and everything from all stratas of society.
Whatever I discussed is only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t feel the slightest exaggeration when I say A Separation is much more profound. With each re-watch you discover yourself being taught some thing new. I say it again, A Separation is a universal film. It has the intelligence, courage and wisdom which is lacking in the movies of our generation.
I thank Asghar Farhadi for making this gem and I hope many people do watch it. This is one of those movies which proves the saying that ‘films are medium of expression that transcends language, country and barriers’. Hats off !
Verdict: If you miss this, you are missing one of the best movies that released in recent times.