A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin)
- Gail Tolley
- 21 June 2011
Award-winning Iranian film is skilfully crafted, intelligent and considered
A Separation begins with the event of its title: Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) sit in front of a local judge debating their decision to get a divorce. Simin wants to move abroad, where she feels their daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), will have better prospects for the future. Nader on the other hand feels he should stay in Iran with his elderly father, who has Alzheimer’s. Simin believes the only solution is for the couple to separate. From this fractured start unravels a series of events that will lead to a single tragic incident, an incident that becomes the focus of a tense altercation between those involved, their families and friends as well as the police.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (About Elly) delivers a morally complex tale, which never allows viewers to easily point the finger of blame, gradually revealing information that shows neither side is entirely innocent or guilty. A Separation is rare in its dedication to retaining the complexities and intricacies of its narrative, leading to a rich and thought-provoking consideration of the nature of judgement and the role of the law, all against a backdrop of Iranian culture and customs.
Shot in a naturalistic style, which at times recalls the honesty of feted realist filmmakers the Dardenne brothers, Farhadi’s film is made all the more memorable due to its outstanding performances. It comes as little surprise that the ensemble cast picked up both Best Actor and Best Actress awards at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and the film also won the Golden Bear, the first Iranian film to receive the accolade. A Separation is a stand-out work, skilfully crafted, intelligent and considered, it will play on your mind long after the credits roll.
Selected release from Fri 1 Jul.