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A Separation
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Iran, 2011
Cornerhouse, 5 July 2011

A Separation

This film made me think of What Maisie Knew, though there’s not an exact match.

It is like, yet unlike, Henry James’s work.  Yes, we have a fractured family and, yes, we see the world (largely, anyway) through the critical eyes of a child.  Actually, two children.  But this world is contemporary Iran, not old New York.

Seeing Sharia law in action is one of the high points of the film, as too is the complexity of the drama, which comes to centre on whether a man caused a woman to miscarry a child.  Even at the very end there is ambiguity, an alliance not yet declared.

This film is splendidly acted and is full of passion, anger, humanity, hypocrisy, argument, truth, indignation and integrity.  And who’d have thought that in modern Iran they’d be drinking Twinings Earl Grey tea. They’re really big on it, apparently, either that or there’s an example of astute product placement here.

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