Last night I watched a film that I would place firmly towards the top of the ten best films that I have ever seen.
A Separation, the Oscar winning Iranian film by Asghar Farhadi is a remarkable achievement; a parable about truth, love and anger, it deals with the conflicts and gulf between rich and poor, educated and illiterate, pious and secular. It constantly poses moral questions, yet makes no judgment about any of the participants, leaving that entirely to the viewer. It shows the weakness of the strong, innocence compromised and the ambiguities of truth founded on misunderstanding.
As far removed from the artificial emotion or constant wham bam action of Hollywood, it is inconceivable to think of anyone in the American film industry being capable of making anything comparable. There are no music, crowd scenes, special effects, sex or violence. Instead, filmed in documentary style, there are only searingly intense performances,from a remarkable ensemble that hold you unwavering to the screen for over two hours.
Termeh the eleven year old daughter of Simin and Nader must make three choices, should she lie, does she believe her father and finally, which of her parents should she live with. Each has profound consequences and she must make them on her own.
This is a film that any teacher responsible for the social, moral or religious education of sixteen year olds should include on their school syllabus, irrespective of their religious background (or lack of it) and beliefs.
The trailer can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Sswx_vrWk