27 December 2011

A Separation

Written & Directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Full credits at IMDb

Have Iranian censors gotten sloppy? I suppose they might consider A Separation a straightforward domestic drama; it could certainly pass as one. But to these Western eyes, this shaky cam melodrama, this soap opera for sophisticates, is implicitly critical of its country, an indictment of systemic oppression. Yet it wasn't smuggled out of the country on a USB drive—it's Iran's official submission for the best foreign film Oscar...Farhadi avoids contriving heroes and villains: every character is sympathetic, stuck in some pitiable position, doing the wrong thing by trying to do what seems right for their families and selves. There are no bad guys; if the movie has a malevolent force, it's Iran itself.

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