A Seperation (PG)
Starring: Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi
Friday 01 July 2011
Here is a brooding and rather brilliant drama about conscience and the law that deserves the widest possible audience.
Unfortunately it won't get one, because it's made in Iran and comes with subtitles. At its heart is the dilemma of a married couple who may be about to separate. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to get out of the country, but husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) refuses to leave his seriously ailing father. In a long opening scene, both stubbornly stand their ground before a judge in a dingy municipal office, the first of many extraordinary glimpses into the Iranian judicial system. Nader hires a pregnant working-class woman, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), to look after his father during the day, an engagement that ends in calamity when a violent row flares up and Razieh is roughly ejected by her employer. It transpires that in the struggle she lost her baby, and now her volatile husband (Shahab Hosseini) wants compensation from Nader, and won't stop at intimidation to get it.
The writer-director Asghar Farhadi sets it all up so unobtrusively that you may not even notice details that will be vital once the two parties go to court against one another. In one sense it's a legal drama, bound up with class resentments and religious taboos that, while mysterious to western society, are of profound relevance to an Iranian one. Yet A Separation becomes even more gripping as it delves into the minefield of personal conscience: Nader and Razieh both have a defence, but both know more than they're letting on. The story is underscored by the moral anguish of the couple's 11-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), a girl wiser than her years who sees too clearly the catastrophe her parents are heading towards. Hers is one among several excellent performances that helped to clinch this year's Golden Bear at Berlin, the first ever Iranian film to do so. If you get the chance, find out why.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
'We didn't really think we'd get away with it': The astonishing story of how two young Irish men completed an audacious £7m art heist
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 final: As Google celebrates the competition with a Doodle, here are 7 things you might not know
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland