2011’s Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature winner, Asgar Farhadi’s A Separation turns 10 this year.
One of the great legal dramas, A Separation observes the disintegrating marriage of Nader (Payman Maadi) & Simin (Leila Hatami), who are requesting a divorce at the start of Farhadi’s spellbinding film. After 14 years and one child together, the two have reached an impasse; Simin wants to move out of the country to give their child a better life, Nader must stay and help his ailing father following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The couple struggle together against the elaborate and byzantine legal system of contemporary Iran, one that sees no reason to grant a divorce as no crime has been committed by either party. What unfolds is a merciless rotation of procedural inquiries by the state so as to validate the couple’s incompatibility and grant a divorce before their visas expire.
With increasingly complex plotting, Farhadi’s depiction of governmental limitations in the modern world is incredibly strident yet personal.
“A Separation is a film in which every important character tries to live a good life within the boundaries of the same religion. That this leads them into disharmony and brings them up before a judge is because no list of rules can account for human feelings.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times
“In a way, this is also a legal procedural, but one in which the truth becomes less and less clear-cut as the film goes on […] This is a dense, complex film that demands close attention from its audience (and richly rewards a second viewing).” — Dana Stevens, slate.com
“Farhadi is less concerned with the bugs and variations in human perception than cracks in the average moral compass, little fault lines that prompt good people to make bad decisions. No one is a monster in Farhadi’s world. And because no one is a monster, everyone earns a measure of sympathy.” — Amy Biancolli, SF Chronicle