login | register

A Separation


Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Asghar Farhadi 
Starring: Peyman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat  
An image from A Separation

Winning countless awards at festivals around the world, ‘A Separation’ is a wonderfully-told, poignant story about the pitfalls and morals dilemmas that punctuate our lives, day in, day out.

Iranian couple Nader and Simin are on the brink of separation after 14 years of marriage. Simin is desperate to leave Tehran so that her 11-year-old daughter does not have to grow up under the city’s harsh rule. Nader, on the other hand, is too loyal to his Alzheimer-suffering father to move away. Yet when Simin files for divorce, the court does not grant her motion as they do not believe she has enough reason to leave her husband. She nonetheless moves out, and Nader hires a carer for his sickly father. Detailing the experiences of many characters, we watch as a series of problematic and ethically questionable events unfold, constantly trying to determine the right and wrong in every misstep or simple mistake, and whether anyone can truly be the judge.

The film explores a multitude of quandaries concerning modern life in Iran, from issues of gender, attitudes towards class, and differing religious perspectives. To its credit, the film weaves all these ‘heavy’ social problems effortlessly into a narrative that’s as dramatic and gripping as a Hollywood melodrama. With pitch-perfect pacing and a resistance to identify solely with one character, ‘A Separation’ runs smoothly along as we circulate the intersecting lives of three-dimensional characters in realistic situations that never feel dull or contrived. Moreover, director Asghar Farhadi aptly chooses to film in mostly handheld shots, which strikes a documentary-like tone that further deepens the film’s authentic aesthetic.

“A Separation” is a film that tackles tough debates and isn’t out to give easy, black-and-white answers. It presents a layered and intriguing story that’s meticulously put together down to the smallest details. Rounded off by some marvellous performances, ‘A Separation’ is sure to excite as much as it will educate.

Luke Woellhaf

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (digital)