So finally over the weekend, I managed to watch Asghar Farhidi's A Separation which is the first Iranian movie to have won the Oscar in the best foreign language movie category. I would like to begin talking about the movie with its end. It is one of the most beautiful endings I have ever seen. It is simple, yet mind-blowing. It lingers on, till the last credit and then smoothly flows through the screen to be with you for quite sometime.
The script of the movie is pretty interesting. There is no mystery as such but the film keeps taking these interesting turns that make you feel you are watching some sort of strongly interlinked stories, but stories which can just strongly exist on their own too. The film is full of interesting women characters including the two wives and the two daughters and still its not really a feminist story. The filmmaker also pays a lot of attention to details. I like the scene where the accused husband (you will know who I am talking about once you watch the movie), comes to the kitchen and his estranged wife is shown just stubbing the cigarette in the balcony. The wife is almost in the background , out of focus, but is smoking. May be it is just completely my interpretation, but its a very subtle smartly executed scene to sort of show the modernity of a a bourgeois Iranian woman. (I do not mean that smoking a cigarette depicts modernity but it kind of does in this particular context) And because of all the brouhaha in Iran, its done so subtly, in a blink and miss fashion.
There is no massive high or low points in the film, which probably has not worked in my favour. It is very very difficult to sympathize or stay with any character in the movie, the accused, the accuser, the liar, anyone. And this is completely my problem and a pretty much wrong thing to do, but I kept thinking about Jafar Panahi, one of my most favourite directors, while watching the movie. Yes, yes, I know that comparing two filmmakers is not a very intelligent thing to do but like I said, I missed Panahi. His films, even the apparently most simplistic ones, always manage to make me sit up, draw a huge breath and say 'wow'. They have a very Iranian appeal to them if you know what I mean. And except for a few intrinsic minute details, 'A Separation' could have been based anywhere, even in India.
However, 'A Separation' is a must watch, for a simple yet complicated slice of life of normal everyday people and everyday issues in Iran. And for the subtle hints to the whole conflict for a lot of people who want to stay in their homeland and want to get out of it, at the same time. That is the beginning of the film.