Asghar Farhadi’s elegant melodrama marked a milestone when it became the first Iranian film to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Winner of numerous honours and awards, Asghar Farhadi’s elegant melodrama marked a key transition in Iranian cinema, as its success on the festival circuit became a true crossover success when it won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Wanting a better life for her young daughter, Simin (Leila Hatami) files for divorce from her husband Nader (Peyman Moaadi), who refuses to leave the country due to his filial responsibility to his terminally ill father. When Simin’s application is rejected by the Islamic family court, the couple separates — but after a fateful misunderstanding between Nader and Razieh (Sareh Bayat), a deeply religious young woman whom Nader has hired to care for his father, husband and wife become embroiled in a second, entirely unexpected legal battle. Touching on the many varieties and interpretations of Islamic practice, the disparity between classes and the challenges facing families in contemporary Iranian society, A Separation is a virtual summa of Iran’s cinematic tradition in its fine-grained exploration of the complexities of perception and truth. “A rigorously honest movie about the difficulties of being honest, a film that tries to be truthful about the slipperiness of truth” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times).

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