In France, the film opened in summer and by fall had racked up nearly one million admissions, more than five times that of any previous Iranian film. Given the fecundity of Iranian cinema since the Seventies, it could be said that any formidable new talent stands on the shoulders of giants. Its surprising originality, in my view, has a lot to do with a word that Farhadi used several times in different contexts when I interviewed him last September during the New York Film Festival: complexity. Then, from the POV of an unseen magistrate, we gaze head-on at an upper-middle-class couple discussing their reasons for wanting a divorce.
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It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, the disappointment and desperation suffered by their daughter due to the egotistical disputes and separation of her parents, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Simin desperately wants to leave Iran with Nader, her husband of 14 years, and their daughter, Termeh. Nader, however, is concerned for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
Simin files for divorce , but the family court judges the couple's problems insufficient to warrant divorce and rejects Simin's application. Simin moves back in with her parents but Termeh decides to stay with her father. Simin hires Razieh, a deeply religious woman from a poor suburb of Tehran , to take care of his father while he is at work.
Her family is financially dependent on the job, and she takes her young daughter, Somayeh, with her. Razieh quickly becomes overwhelmed by taking care of Nader's father, which is physically and emotionally demanding, especially as she is four months pregnant. One day, Razieh asks her daughter to help by taking the trash outside, but the bag bursts on the stairs. Razieh mops it up, but discovers that Nader's father has disappeared. Alarmed, Razieh runs down the street after him.
The next day, Nader and Termeh return to discover her grandfather lying unconscious on the floor in his bedroom, tied to the bed.
Razieh and Somayeh are nowhere to be found. When they return, Nader accuses Razieh of neglecting his father and stealing money unbeknownst to Nader, Simin used the money to pay movers. When she refuses to leave until he pays her, he pushes Razieh out of the apartment. She falls on the stairwell outside. Hodjat's sister later calls Simin to inform her that Razieh is in the hospital. Nader and Simin go to the hospital, where they encounter her husband, Hodjat, and learn she has suffered a miscarriage.
If it is proven that Nader knew of Razieh's pregnancy and caused the miscarriage, he could be sentenced for murder. In front of a criminal judge, Nader accuses Razieh of neglecting his father, while the hot-headed and aggressive Hodjat physically confronts Nader on several occasions. When Hodjat is arrested for another outburst, Razieh begs the judge, explaining that he has mental disorders and is taking medication.
Nader takes pity on her and asks the judge to not jail him. Nader learns from Somayeh that the reason Razieh was absent that day was because she had gone to visit a physician, which Razieh had avoided revealing earlier.
Nader and Mrs Ghahraei wonder if Hodjat is physically abusive to Razieh and caused her miscarriage. Meanwhile, Termeh asks her father if he really didn't know Razieh was pregnant, because her mother thinks he did, and he says he did not, but that Simin is trying to turn her against him.
Nader physically demonstrates to investigators that it is unlikely Razieh could have fallen where she did if he had pushed her out of the door, which angers Hodjat more. Hodjat shows up at Termeh's school and harasses her and her teacher, accusing Mrs Ghahraei of lying. Simin, fearing for Termeh's safety, wants Nader to pay restitution for the loss of their child to make the case go away.
Nader is initially outraged by Simin's suggestion and Simin and Nader both blame each other for the situation as their marriage continues to disintegrate. He admits he did hear it but was forced to lie or spend up to three years in prison, and that he was concerned what would happen to her.
Mrs Ghahraei also realizes he lied and withdraws her statement, telling the judge about his phone call. When the judge questions Nader how he could known this, he claims his daughter told him. The judge tells Nader to send Termeh into his office. Nader hesitates, then sends her in without instructing her to lie for him. The judge is surprised that Termeh doesn't know what he wants to ask her, meaning Nader did not tell prepare her, and he believes her when she lies to protect her father.
Simin tries to negotiate a settlement with Hodjat. However, Razieh reveals to Simin she has serious doubts as to whether Nader's actions caused the miscarriage, considering she had earlier been hit by a car while retrieving Nader's father when he had wandered out of the apartment and had first experienced symptoms of the miscarriage that night.
Razieh fears that without the money Nader can provide in or out of court Hodjat will not be able to pay back his debtors, destroying their family. After another full-blown argument, Simin forces Termeh to leave with her. Nader agrees to the payment and asks Razieh to swear on the Qur'an that he is the cause of her miscarriage. Since she has doubts, she refuses, though Hodjat tries to force her to avoid dishonor in front of his creditors, and begins hitting himself over and over in rage.
Later, at the family court, Nader and Simin have filed for a divorce once again. The judge makes their separation permanent, and asks Termeh which parent she chooses to live with. She states that she has made a decision, but asks that the judge tell her parents to wait outside before she tells him.
Her decision is left unresolved. The concept came from a number of personal experiences and abstract pictures which had been in Asghar Farhadi 's mind for some time. Once he decided to make the film, about a year before it premiered, it was quickly written and financed. Farhadi described the film as the "logical development" from his previous film, About Elly. Like Farhadi's last three films, A Separation was made without any government support. The financing went without trouble much thanks to the success of About Elly.
In September , Farhadi was banned from making the film by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance , because of an acceptance speech held during an award ceremony where he expressed support for several Iranian film personalities.
Notably he had wished to see the return to Iranian cinema of Mohsen Makhmalbaf , an exiled filmmaker and Iranian opposition profile, and of the imprisoned political filmmaker Jafar Panahi , both of whom had been connected to the Iranian Green Movement. The ban was lifted in the beginning of October after Farhadi claimed to have been misperceived and apologized for his remarks. The film has been met with universal acclaim from film critics. The website's critical consensus states, "Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity",  as well as a score of 95 on Metacritic based on 41 reviews,  making it the best-reviewed film of Just when it seemed impossible for Iranian filmmakers to express themselves meaningfully outside the bounds of censorship, Asghar Farhadi's Nader and Simin, A Separation comes along to prove the contrary.
Apparently simple on a narrative level yet morally, psychologically and socially complex, it succeeds in bringing Iranian society into focus for in a way few other films have done. Young noted how Farhadi portrayed Iran's social and religious divisions, and complimented the film's craft:.
As in all the director's work, the cast is given top consideration and their realistic acting results in unusual depth of characterization. All five main actors stand out sharply in Mahmood Kalari's intimate cinematography. Though the film lasts over two hours, Hayedeh Safiyari's fast-moving editing keeps the action tensely involving from start to finish. In a strongly positive review from Screen Daily , Lee Marshall wrote:. Showing a control of investigative pacing that recalls classic Hitchcock and a feel for ethical nuance that is all his own, Farhadi has hit upon a story that is not only about men and women, children and parents, justice and religion in today's Iran, but that raises complex and globally relevant questions of responsibility, of the subjectivity and contingency of "telling the truth", and of how thin the line can be between inflexibility and pride — especially of the male variety — and selfishness and tyranny.
Alissa Simon from Variety called it Farhadi's strongest work yet and described it:. Tense and narratively complex, formally dense and morally challenging The provocative plot casts a revealing light on contempo Iranian society, taking on issues of gender, class, justice and honor as a secular middle-class family in the midst of upheaval winds up in conflict with an impoverished religious one.
David Thomson for The New Republic wrote:. You cannot watch the film without feeling kinship with the characters and admitting their decency as well as their mistakes. The American films made this year that deal with the internal detail and difficulty of family life — like The Descendants — are airy, pretty and affluent compared with A Separation.
It also received the Audience Favourite Film award. Iranian critic Massoud Farasati , whose views are close to those of the Islamic regime, said "The image of our society that A Separation depicts is the dirty picture westerners are wishing for ".
The film has appeared on numerous critics' top ten lists for ,  some notable of which are the following:. A Separation was later named the ninth-greatest film of the 21st century in a BBC critics' poll. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Separation Iranian theatrical release poster. Club  3rd: Scott Tobias, The A. British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 25 March The Numbers.
Retrieved 30 June Retrieved 17 April Retrieved 20 February Los Angeles Times. Deadline Hollywood. Screen Daily. Retrieved 19 February Business of Cinema. Join The Dots Media. Archived from the original on 6 February Retrieved 17 February The New York Times. Tehran Times. Archived from the original on 10 February Berlin International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 16 July Retrieved 22 February Rotten Tomatoes.
Fandango Media. Retrieved 2 March
A Separation – review
Watch the video. While both participating in a production of "Death of a Salesman," a teacher's wife is assaulted in her new home, which leaves him determined to find the perpetrator over his wife's traumatized objections. The mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher during a picnic in the north of Iran is followed by a series of misadventures for her fellow travelers. Somaieh, the youngest daughter of an indigent family, is getting married and fear is overwhelming each and every member of the family regarding how to overcome their difficulties after she's gone. A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody.
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, Iran)
It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, the disappointment and desperation suffered by their daughter due to the egotistical disputes and separation of her parents, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Simin desperately wants to leave Iran with Nader, her husband of 14 years, and their daughter, Termeh. Nader, however, is concerned for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Simin files for divorce , but the family court judges the couple's problems insufficient to warrant divorce and rejects Simin's application. Simin moves back in with her parents but Termeh decides to stay with her father.
Scenes from a Marriage
That this leads them into disharmony and brings them up before a judge is because no list of rules can account for human feelings. The film involves its audience in an unusually direct way, because although we can see the logic of everyone's position, our emotions often disagree. The movie takes place in present-day Iran, a modern nation that attempts to live under Islamic law. The film's story has no quarrel with Islam, but it demonstrates that the inflexible application of the letter of the law may frustrate the spirit of the law. This is true in all nations under all religions and all laws. Laws are an attempt to regulate hypothetical situations before they may arise.