Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Separation

# 39 on my List is to watch all of the Oscar winners for Best Foreign Film from 1980 till present.

A saw A Separation (2011, Iran) a few months ago. I'll only be adding to the volumes of high praise for this film - but it deserves all the adulation and more. It was poignantly written, beautifully shot and brought to life by characters that are so flawed and real that despite it being set in a country that is foreign to me their reactions and emotions so universal.

A portrayal of modern day Iran, the conflict of the letter of religious law vs. the spirit of law and a family that struggles, fighting fiercely for what each believes to be right. The film is exquisite and shot almost like a thriller with a fast pace and a lot of sequences in confined spaces of a small apartment, a stairway or the corridors of court.

Amongst many images of the movie that I still remember so vividly, a dialogue that has stuck with me is between Nadir and Simin, the couple around whom the story centers. They live in Tehran with their 11 year old daughter and Nadir's father who has Alzheimer's. In principle, they have agreed to eventually move abroad for their daughter, where they hope her prospects might be better. Simin is ready to move but Nadir wants to stay for his father's sake.
"But he doesn't even know you!", his wife says. "No, but I know him."

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