Friday, January 6, 2017

Iranian Neo-Realism at its Best

A Separation (2011) - Farhadi
Riveting morality tale from Asghar Farhadi. Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Layla Hatami) want a divorce after 14 years of marriage. Nader has an old father who has an alzheimer so he won't leave the country with his wife and 11 year old daughter. Simin's mind was set on immigration, for the future of their child. They go to a judge but he won't grant the divorce since Nader is not a bad man. Things begin to unravel when Nader takes up a caretaker to take care of his dad while he is working. Razieh (Sareh Bayat) with his young button nosed daugther in tow, starts working for Nader but taking care of the old man who doesn't know where he is most of the time and can't clean himself is just too much for her with hot tempered, unemployed husband at home. She is also pregnant.

Things get out of hand when Razieh leave the old man tied to the bed and go to the doctors appointment - Nader comes home with his daughter, finds his dad fallen off bed unconscious, goes mad, throws Razieh out when she comes back. In the scuffle that ensues, Razieh has a miscarriage. The intense court drama (in the office of a judge) begins.

Farhadi's moral dilemmas where no one is really at fault but everyone finds himself in bad circumstances in a deeply religious society is extremely well-balanced and beautifully drawn out. He is especially good at observing all these rigmaroles from children's perspective. Outstanding performances by all involved. A great example of neo-realist Iranian cinema.