A Separation (2011)


A Separation Storyline

Nader and Simin, a middle class Iranian couple with an eleven year old daughter named Termeh, are on the verge of divorce. They love each other, but Simin, with exit visas for the family only good for the next forty days, wants to leave Iran permanently to a better life especially for Termeh. Nader, however, refuses to go as his father suffers from Alzheimer’s and Nader will not leave him behind despite he probably not knowing who Nader is most of the time. As such, Simin moves out of their home and back in with her own parents. Termeh, however, stays with her father as she sees this action as a way to bring her parents back together. As Nader’s father requires around the clock supervision, Nader, on a suggestion from Simin about a family member of an acquaintance, hires a man named Hojjat to be his father’s caregiver when he’s at work during the day. However, on Hojjat’s first day in this position, he can’t make it. Instead, Hojjat’s wife, Razieh, with their infant daughter Somayeh, shows up to do the work as they desperately need the money. A few days in with Razieh having so far done all the work for an absent Hojjat, an incident occurs between Nader and Razieh, the results from which threaten both their standing in the community. With their respective spouses and children among others thrown into the mix, each individual has made up his or her mind about what is the best thing to do for his or herself, which is often at cross purposes to the others. These decisions take into consideration justice, humanity and/or individual well-being.

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A Separation Movie Reviews

Mankind Is Flawed

In Tehran, the teacher Simin (Leila Hatami) has requested the divorce from her husband, the bank clerk Nader (Peyman Moadi). Simin wishes to live abroad to give a better life to her eleven year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) and Nader, who is a family man but very arrogant, wants to stay to take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) that has Alzheimer. Simin moves to the house of her mother and Nader hires the religious Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his father while he is working.

Razieh is pregnant but she does not tell her husband Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who owes a large amount to the creditors, that she is working. When she arrives with her daughter Somayeh (Kimia Hosseini)at Nader’s house, she distracts and Nader’s father goes to the street and she goes and gets him back home. On the next day, when Nader arrives home with Termeh, they find Nader’s father tied up to his bed and Razieh and Somayeh are not at home. When they arrive at home, Nader accuses Razieh of theft and expels her. Razieh feels offended and argues with him, and Nader pushes her out at the front door. Razieh falls and has an abortion. She goes to the court with her husband and the witnesses are summoned to testify.

“Jodaeiye Nader az Simin” or the separation of Nader and Simin, is among the best Iranian films I have seen and is a fantastic drama that shows how flawed mankind is, no matter in Iran, Brazil, Europe or wherever. Despite the different values of the Iranian society comparing with the Westerns ones, all the characters are flawed; therefore, the plot is realistic. Nader is a family man that loves his father and his daughter, but commits perjury, is stubborn and arrogant and asks his acquaintances to lie. Simin uses the secret that Razieh had told her to take advantage. Termeh lies to save her father from justice. Razieh is religious and worried with Allah and sins, but she was capable to lie fearing the reaction of her husband. Hodjat is a rude and impulsive man that is violent.

The direction is perfect and the acting is top-notch. The story is engaging and believable and differences of cultures between Iran and Brazil are intriguing. I really recommend this film for any cinema lover or people interested in learning a little about the Iranian culture. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): “A Separação” (“The Separation”)

Maybe the movie of the year

And it comes from Iran. The first thing you read on the screen is “In the name of God”. Well, anyway it’s the best story, the best cutting, the best actors you’ve seen for long. And few films are that stomach-turning, although there’s hardly any physical violence.

A wife wants to go abroad. Her husband can’t because he wants to take of his senile father. The wife moves and the husband hires a woman to look after his father.

And then the screw turns, although most of the story takes place in everyday Iranian life. The center of it all is perhaps the daughter, who is nearly teared apart. But it takes time until you realize that. Anyway, I can almost guarantee you sit the film through, until the final post-texts has passed.

So amazingly clever.

While not especially pleasant viewing, it’s a very complex film–the sort that will get you and your friends talking.

Over the years, I have watched perhaps thousands of international films. And, I’ve come to be impressed by the films of three countries–France, Japan and, surprisingly, Iran. In fact, although I’ve seen far fewer Iranian films than either Japanese or French, the Iranian films have always been exceptional…always. Their track record with films you can see here in the States is amazing. Part of it is because the nation has produced Majid Majidi–a truly brilliant filmmaker who, oddly, has only received on Oscar nomination and no wins. Yet, easily, he could have won several times with such brilliant films as “Chidlren of Heaven”, “The Color of Paradise”, “The Willow Tree” and “Baran”. I have also seen several other wonderful film by other Iranian directors. So, I was quite interested in seeing “A Separation” when it arrived at a local theater. And, I am glad I had a chance to see it.

The film begins with a man and wife both seeing a judge (or more like a referee) to discuss a divorce. The wife wants to leave Iran (exactly why is never discussed, by the way–an interesting omission) but the husband is adamant–he won’t leave his father, as the father has Alzheimer’s. This is an odd reason to want a divorce and as the audience knew nothing about the family, it was easy to dislike the wife and side with the husband–especially since they have a daughter who is in the middle. But the wife insists–she WILL leave whether he divorces her or not.

Most of the rest of the film centers on the husband. You have to feel for the guy–his wife insists on leaving, his father is in the mid-late stages of the disease and he is having a devil of a time finding someone to care for the man. His prayers seem to be answered when he finds a woman willing to watch him–and at the price he can afford. However, this is early in the film and there is LOTS to come. I’d say more about the plot, but there are so many surprises, I’d rather just leave it to you to see yourself.n The film is great to watch because there are so many surprises and so many situations where people are faced with very tough choices and yet they seem to make the wrong ones again and again–all due to stubbornness. Such simple things like apologizing or even talking out problems–all these seem beyond people. And, in the process, two children from two separate families are stuck in the middle–with HUGE pressures put on them by their parents. As a result of all this, I can guarantee that it’s a film that will get you thinking and have a strong emotional impact. It’s also a great film to see with friends because I could easily see the film stimulating a ton of discussion afterwords. Intelligent and very complex–the only reservation I have is that the film is unrelentingly sad and tough to watch. I could imagine some viewers just tiring of all this, as it’s like an extended Bickerson’s skit–without any jokes or levity–just anger, horrible decisions, selfishness and isolation. Sad but profound.