Film: Jodaiye Nader az Simin
Director & writer: Asghar Farhadi
Iran has churned out bold and compelling cinema in the past few decades. Iranian cinema is the perfect opportunity to explore the supposed authoritarian facade that Iran erects. From films like ‘Colour of Paradise’, ‘A moment of innocence’ and to ‘A Separation’, filmmakers have constantly excelled at portraying every single element that comprises everyday Iranian life.
‘Jodaeiye Nader az Simin’ aka ‘A Separation’ is a tale of two families hailing from different socio-economic classes in modern Tehran. Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) represent an average middle class Iranian couple. They have a teenage daughter- Termeh and Nader’s ailing father staying with them. From the beginning of the film, the audience are exposed to the troubled relationship that Nader and Simin are in.
Enters the other protagonist – Razieh, a god fearing woman, who is a house keeper, and barely manages to get by. She has a young daughter, and an aggressive husband – Hodjat, who is responsible for most of Razieh’s troubles.
What follows is an intricately woven story of two families that crash into each other, and in the process highlighting the political, social, economical aspects of Iranian society. Nader and Simin who are already going through domestic hell, end up in a brawl with Razieh and Hodjat, which could potentially put Nader behind bars.
‘A Separation’ does not directly approach suppression of freedom of speech and expression that most of the world expects to see, but instead narrates an incident that skilfully points out human emotions caught up in a difficult situation. The cultural context of the story is significant and characterises its uniqueness.
While Nader (Moadi) has deep family values, his ego often gets the better of him. Moadi delivers a powerful performance. His face off with Razieh, in particular is an evidence of his involvement in Nader’s character. Simin on the other hand is strong headed, and wants to leave Iran. She expects Nader and Termeh to accompany her, but Nader refuses, creating further blows in their fragile marriage. Leila Hatami playing Simin puts in her hundred percent to portray the plight of almost single mother, who is repeatedly forced to be patient and calm in order to get her family out of tough circumstance.
Razieh and her husband Hodjat are coping with economic crisis. Hodjat is in deep debt, and cannot walk in public without being confronted by debt collectors.
Director and writer Asghar Farhadi flawlessly creates though provoking, engaging and moving cinema. His story telling crosses cultural frontiers and manages to connect with audiences world wide.
I cannot give further details about the plot, as it may spoil your enthusiasm and curiosity to watch this wonderful piece of cinema. It is a must watch, and I hope it can win the Academy for the Best Foreign Film.