Friday, March 16, 2012

A Separation

This film won the academy award this year for best foreign film, and it is easy to see why. It was fascinating- because even if you didn't care for the plot or acting, it would be riveting just for the way it portrays modern Iranian society and its treatment of women, as well as how the legal system functions without lawyers but rather uses mediation style judges who hear evidence and pronounce the fate of the parties.  The title is misleading- it is not really about a separation of a married couple. That is merely the catalyst for the rest of the film. It is a film about all kinds of desperation and the results of that desperation. This film was made on a $500,000 budget, so it is fair to assume that nothing was done to manipulate the surroundings- the streets and housing of modern Tehran. To see modern shops and normal traffic and people going about their business (probably oblivious to the camera in their midst) is really interesting. We assume so much about modern Iran, and yet there it is on film with no pretense or manipulation.
If you haven't seen it, go see it. And for my sake, pay a lot of attention to the surroundings and the interpretations of Iranian law. I think we'd settle a lot more small cases in this country without lawyers, and this will make you to think of how that could work.  Also ponder the Iranian law on rights of the unborn child and why that seems to shock some people.
It's a really good movie. REALLY good.  The academy got it right this time.