A Separation

Starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi,
Shahab Hosseini and Sareh Bayat
Written and directed by Asgar Farhadi
USA 2011
123 mins

Our last movie 'Birth' was a very strange family tale - childhood, death, grief and sexual intrigue all combining in a heady Freudian brew. Our next film is also firmly rooted in family life but this time the focus is on a middle class couple's divorce in modern day Iran and the impact on all the various people involved.

Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to leave the country with her family because she doesn't want her daughter Termeh to grow up there. Her husband Nader opposes the move because he wants to care for his ageing father. The dispute drives them to the divorce court. This struggle between the husband and wife and the shock waves it creates draw us in to their world and raises fascinating questions about truth, justice, religion, gender and human behaviour. 

'A Separation' is directed by Asgar Farhadi - winning him the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2012 along with a host of other international prizes. His latest film 'The Salesman' has just netted Farhadi a second Oscar - unexpectedly beating the hot favourite 'Toni Erdmann'. It's more than possible that voting was swayed by Donald Trump's infamous travel ban which meant that Farhadi was forbidden from entering the USA to attend the ceremony!

'A Separation' is an extraordinarily nuanced and complex drama - paced like a Hitchcock film it gives a fascinating insight into life in contemporary Iran. The actors in this film truly inhabit their roles - seemingly actually caught in the trap in which the characters find themselves.
However 'A Separation' is no worthy social document - it has a deceptively simple narrative but Farhadi's compelling, suspenseful style exposes the fault lines below the surface, sidestepping brilliantly the heavy censorship imposed on all filmmakers in Iran.