“A Separation.” Courtesy/IMDb
Review by Kelly Dolejsi
The Iranian film “A Separation” (2011) is one of the best films I’ve seen in awhile. It purports to be about putting a child through divorce, and the difficulties of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. I suppose it is. But it begins and ends in an Iranian court house, and for me the focus really became how people tell their sides, and the fact that there is no truth, or at least no single truth.
Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Payman Maadi) certainly have what in America we call “irreconcilable differences.” Viewers find out in the first minutes of the movie that Simin wants to move with their daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) to the United States. Simin has a visa that will soon expire, and doesn’t want to miss what she considers a massive opportunity to improve their daughter’s life. Nader refuses to go, because he needs to take care of his dementia-suffering father, who lives with the family.
This is not the only legal battle fought, or the only separation discussed, in the Oscar-award-winning film (it won for Best Foreign Language Film.) The other is, in some ways, even more compelling – certainly more rich with suspense and, because it involves even more people, it involves even more versions of nuanced truth.
Director Asghar Farhadi does a wonderful job of allowing each character his or her dignity, as well as his or her shame. We all carry each around with us, whether or not the law recognizes them.
“A Separation” screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda at Mesa Public Library, as part of the Free Film Series. The showing is made possible of Friends of Mesa Public Library.
For more information, call the library at 662-8240.