Aug 7, 2012

12th August 2012; Asghar Farhadi's A Separation

Written, produced, and directed by Asghar Farhadi
Cinematography by Mahmoud Kalari
Edited by Hayedeh Safiyari
Iran, 2011, color, 123 min.
Persian with English subtitles
Perks Mini Theater
12th Aug 2012 ; 5.45pm

One of the perennial and most fruitful subjects of cinema is relationships, especially those of married couples. Regardless of ethnicity, religion, class, location, or gender, most couples will have problems where the regrettable solution seems to be separation, divorce, or disappearance. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s protagonists, Nader and Simin, have reached such an impasse. After 14 years of marriage, Simin wants to take their 13-year-old daughter and emigrate to another country with or without her husband, to a place where she and Termeh can seek greater opportunities as women.Besides being satisfied with his job and social position already, Nader has to take care of his incapacitated father and consequently refuses to leave Iran. Termeh refuses to join her mother, who definitely will not leave Iran without her daughter. Thus, they have reached an impasse, which could be replicated within practically any country, especially for the “Sandwich Generation” which finds itself taking care of both school-age children and elderly parents. Thus, A SEPARATION is a global film which can speak to all audiences.However, when Simin secures a woman to come clean the house and watch after the elderly, usually bed-ridden father with Alzheimer’s, then aspects of Islamic culture become critical to the story and create all manner of unfamiliar but haunting conflicts and complications. Nader returns one day to find his father tied to the bed and Razieh absent. She has a good reason for this, but Nader doesn't know it and neither do we. He fires her. Meantime she suffers a miscarriage and her husband sues Nader for causing it by pushing her down.The writer-director, Asghar Farhadi, tells his story with a fair and even hand. His only agenda seems to be to express empathy. Although the judge may be tending against our own sympathies, we understand why he does so and may be correct to do so. That a director can make such a sympathetic film in such a troubled time is a tribute to his strength of character.In conclusion, Farhadi has purposely left his film without one. He states very intriguingly and provokingly: “I don’t think it’s important for the audience to know my intention. I’d rather they left the cinema with questions. I believe that the world today needs more questions than answers. Answers prevent you from questioning, from thinking. From the opening scene, I aimed to set this up. The film’s first question is whether an Iranian child has a better future in his or her own country or abroad. There is no set answer. My wish is that this film will make you ask yourselves questions, such as these ones.”

Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi was born in Isfahan, Iran in 1972. Whilst at school he became interested in writing, drama and the cinema, took courses at the Iranian Young Cinema Society and started his career as a filmmaker by making super 8mm and 16mm films.
He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film Direction from Tehran University in 1998.
During his studies, he not only wrote and directed student plays, but also wrote plays for national radio and directed for television with such shows as the hit series Tale of a City.
In 2001, Farhadi wrote the screenplay for Ebrahim Hatamikia’s box-office and critical success Low heights.
His directorial debut was with 2003’s Dancing in the Dust. This film went on to participate in the Moscow Film Festival, where it won both the Best Leading Actor and Film Critics awards.
Farhadi made his second feature film, Beautiful City, in 2004 which won the Best feature film award at the Warsaw Film Festival 2004, the India International Film Festival and Moscow’s Faces of Love Film Festival. “Chahar shanbeh souri / Fireworks Wednesday”, his third feature, award winner at the Locarno International Film Festival 2006, has also been successful in other international festivals. The film has been released in both Europe and the USA.
On 19 December 2011, he was announced as being on the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, scheduled to be held in February 2012. On 15 January 2012, his movie Nader and Simin, A Separation won the Golden Globe for the Best Foreign Language Film.The film was also the official Iranian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards where apart from getting nominated[7] in this category, it also received a nomination in the Best Original Screenplay category. On the 26 February 2012, Nader and Simin, A Separation became the first Iranian movie to have received an Oscar for the best foreign language film at the 84th edition of the Academy Awards. This marked Farhadi as the first Iranian to have won an Academy Award in any of the competitive categories.

No comments: