A Separation

A Separation

Director: Asghar Farhadi

When I think about the topic of divorce in film, I conjure up scenes of slightly comedic melodrama which only goes so far as the Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn types can take it. I had thought that divorce in film was a topic left to the cardboard world of cliché until the Oscar-winning film A Separation came along.

Although A Separation is set in contemporary Iran, a country that would be unfamiliar to many in New Zealand, the conflicts it presents within a family on the verge of breaking apart are universal. In this story, Simin (Leila Hatami) provides her husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi) with an ultimatum: Leave Iran with her and their daughter, Termeh, or she will file for the divorce of their 14-year-long marriage. Nader refuses to do so due to his Alzheimer-suffering father and he does not consent to the divorce. When Simin leaves her husband and daughter, Nader hires Razieh, who has her own persistent personal troubles, to assist with his father. The story spirals into complexities after Nader comes home one afternoon to find his father close to death, tied to the bed with no sign of Razieh.

A Separation is enthralling in many ways. It provides a commentary on the tensions of theocracy, domestic rule, sex and politics between two classes in Iran. It feels like a story that was not created by a director but instead is compelling in the honesty of its depiction. It does not and cannot explain all the trivialities of every day life in Iran and the story ends as it started, with troubling and saddening uncertainty. A Separation is the best type of film.

– Loulou Callister-Baker
This article first appeared in Issue 10, 2012.
Posted 12:51am Monday 7th May 2012 by Loulou Callister-Baker.