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Winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film and my guess the “Oscar” in the same category.

This disturbing and thought-provoking movie from Iran gifts the viewer a realistic and insightful look into ordinary life of a culture anathema to those who live in the West; it it difficult to rise above your own freedoms and prejudices to grasp the relationships between males and females in a historically  male –dominated, controlled society. A society where religion dictates and often smothers individuality.

A conflicted couple, seeking divorce; their 11-year-old daughter ripped asunder; an octogenarian father, suffering from Alzheimer’s; a concoction smoldering with angst, intrigue, destructiveness. Director Asghar Farhadi creates a portrait of a family in tumult: “Simin” (beautiful Leila Hatami) wants to leave Iran, seeking a better life for her 11-year-old daughter, “Termeh”(Sarina Farhadi, daughter of the director); “Nader”, her husband (Peyman Maadi) refuses because of his ailing father, his stringent inflexibility breeds antagonism and strife; Termeh, confused, stays with her father; Simin moves back into her parents home.

Nader hires a caregiver to help with his father, hence catastrophe strikes and escalates to Shakespearean proportions.

I saw this film a few weeks ago in Los Angeles and the potency of its message has resonated and forced me to reconsider my negativity concerning the restrictions Iranian women are forced to endure: garb, marital constraints,  employment, religion;  what women in the West recognize as a reduction and diminishment of their rights are willingly embraced by many women in the Islamic world. Western invasion is glimpsed in fissures, flashes: makeup, blue jeans, modification of the chador, hijab, burka; the internet has pulverized boundaries and has leveled the globe.

The most remarkable aspect of the film is its contemporary aesthetic; Farhadi, filming under a political ideology where censorship is undisputed, allows the spectator to divine his/her own conclusions; he is completely nonjudgmental, lacking pedagogy; each character vacillates between life- altering decisions, thick with complexities, frustrations; maneuverability shrinking as the situation escalates and all paths to a righteous, fair solution fade.

From commencement to conclusion the viewer is allowed to “fill in the blanks”; the universality of “A Separation” lies in the dynamics, ethics,  conundrums that all share, resulting in unification, not separation.


For Now…………Peneflix


  1. Once again, Penelope

    You make me interested to see a film that would have glided under my radar.
    Thank you


  2. This film got a lot of hype at the Ralm Desert Film Festival. I will see it in the theatre when it appears…..

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