Nader and Simin – A Separation

Nader and Simin – A Separation

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Artificial Eye 

Release date: July 1st 2011
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 123 minutes

Country of origin: Iran
Original language: Persian with English subtitles

Writer & director: Asghar Farhadi

Cast: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zare’i, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Babak Karimi, Kimia Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh

Life is complicated enough without the lies that people tell. One small one leads to another and then another and before you know it the truth can become so obscured that it’s hard to even see where it lies anymore.

In Asghar Farhadi’s film, Simin (Leila Hatami) and her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi), have just separated and are about to become victims of such a lie, as well as manipulation and public confrontations.

A Separation

With his wife now gone, Nader is left with no one to care for his elderly father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) while he’s at work so he hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat), to look after him.

Razieh turns up to work without telling her husband –or seeking his permission – and she’s also pregnant but doesn’t tell Nader. When she goes out one day she locks his father in his room after tying his hand to the bed, but on this particular day Nader comes home early and finds his father not only locked in his room but lying injured on the floor.

A Separation

Flying into a rage, Nader throws Razieh out of the house and the next thing he knows is that she’s in hospital having suffered a miscarriage and claiming to have been beaten and pushed down a flight of stairs. What then follows is a taut and lengthy look at Iranian society and how even telling the smallest of lies can have far reaching consequences.

Farhadi’s screenplay and direction never misses a beat and manages to combine moments of brilliant comedy with tightly wound family tensions. As Nader and Razieh’s unstable husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini) collide inside and outside the court we know there’s more to the story than their wives are telling or are able to say.

A Separation

The cast do an excellent job of bringing these complex emotions to life, especially Peyman Moadi and Shahab Hosseini whose characters seem to be on the verge of nervous breakdowns, given their impossible situations but Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat are the driving force here, as the wives who are trying to do their best for their families.

A Separation is one of those rare films that leaves you with more questions than answers, and rightly so. There’s a lot to think about here, it’s more than just a morality tale, it also challenges the typical Western view of what life in Iran is like and what role women play in society there. Whereas we might be used to thinking of them as passive bystanders in a male dominated world, in A Separation, they are portrayed as highly present and active in society, , despite the restrictions they are subjected to.

The way Farhadi builds the story around the relationships it’s something we can relate to and recognise, so while its setting is specific, the core of the story is one that’s universal and simply put, just beautifully crafted and riveting from start to finish.

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