17 ene. 2012

My Review: A Separation (9/10)

¨What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it's written.¨

Critics have been raving about this Iranian film and after finally getting the chance to see it I can see why they were so pleased with this social drama. It is a very well told story with great performances. Filmed mostly with a handheld camera, the movie feels very authentic and real. At moments you forget you are seeing a movie, and feel like you are watching a real family with real problems. Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, knows what he is doing and delivers a near perfect film. He captures a glimpse of an Iranian family and lets the camera tell the story. What at first seems like a movie that`s going to focus on the separation between the husband and wife later becomes more complicated and interesting when the main character is charged for murder and we see the way the Iranian law system works. We also experience how the entire situation affects the different members of the family. I also liked the final reveal near the ending as I wasn’t sure how the story was going to pay out, and it worked really well. Most foreign films tend to deal with social issues since these movies are cheaper to make and they don’t count with the costly productions that Hollywood films have to create spectacular visual effects and action scenes. That is why more emphasize is put on the storytelling in order to capture the viewer`s attention. The storytelling here is the center of the movie and we truly care for what the characters are going through. We can relate to these people despite their different culture and beliefs. They have to deal with similar issues that most families need to deal with, and that is what makes A Separation a universal movie.

Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) are getting a divorce because Simin wants to leave Iran and find better job opportunities in another country. They have been waiting over a year for their Visa to go through and once they finally get it Nader decides he doesn’t want to leave the country because he has to take care of his father (Ali Asghar Shahbazi) who has Alzheimer. Simin won’t leave without her daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), but she wants to stay with her father since she knows that if she stays her mother won`t leave. Simin ends up moving to her mother`s home and since she`s gone Nader has to find someone that can take care of his father while he is at work. He hires a pregnant lady named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) who stays at the house while he`s off to work. Razieh is very religious and she doesn’t feel like she should be working at an adult male`s home, but she has to take the job since her husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), is in debt and without work. One day Nader arrives home only to find the door locked and no one answering. He finds a spare key and enters his home only to find his father lying on the floor tied to the bed. Nader unties his father and gives him respiration and fortunately he survives. In the middle of the chaos, Razieh returns to the house and Nader is so furious that he pushes her out of the door. The next day Nader is called to court since Razieh loses her baby and wants to charge him for murder. This is where the mystery of what really happened begins as both sides try to prove their point.

A Separation recently won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign film and rightfully so because it`s a powerful film. It will probably be one of the nominated films for the Oscars, and as much as I liked this movie I still didn`t find it as powerful as other foreign films I`ve seen such as City of God, The Prophet, and The Secret in Their Eyes. This Iranian film is still great, but I don`t think it would be on my top 5 list of the year. It`s still a strong and memorable movie and probably the best foreign film of the year. The performances are also really great, I really loved these characters and they had real good material to work with. For those people who think everything in Iran has to do with terrorism, then they should definitely see this movie and realize that most Iranians are just normal citizens like everyone else. The one thing that director Farhadi does seem to criticize about his country is the way that the law system works. There aren`t any lawyers involved, every man has to defend himself in front of a judge like if they were having a normal conversation.  A Separation is a great film and no wonder it became the first ever film to win three Bears from the Berlin International Film Festival. This film is worth checking out, and I would really like to see Farhadi`s previous work since I wasn’t familiar with him before this.

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