FLASHBACK TO 2011’s BEST FOREIGN FILM
Imagine a movie plot where all the protagonists are inherently well-meaning, with flaws that only exist to give credence to their humanity. Where nobody is really guilty, no black and white, all grey areas. Where every characters’ motivation is justified when reasoned from their perspective. Here, context is everything.
Boring, right? Nope, Dear Reacher! Nothing could be further from the truth.
So, where’s the villain? Every story needs a villain, or at least, someone – or something- in opposition to the protagonist’s goal, because how else do we get conflict.
In A separation, everyone doubles as the Hero and the opposition. Here, the cliché: ‘everyone is a villain in some other person’s story’ come home to roost.
Iranian Writer-Director, Asghar Farhadi weaved a heart-wrenching story of conflict around a society without the sophistication of technology to unravel grey areas. This means justice is served from a compilation of he said, she said, until the truth spills. Which means to survive, sometimes, is to be believable. It doesn’t help that these are actors, paid to be believable.
But enough with dancing around the plot
A couple approached a Magistrate seeking a divorce. Actually, it was the wife (Simin) that wants out, in a bid to leave Iran in order to provide better academic opportunities for their daughter (Termeh). The husband (Nader), – tied by his commitments to his father (who suffers from Alzheimer) and Termeh- desires status quo, hence the reason for conflict. The judge rules in favour of the man and the wife leaves for her mother’s place.
To fill her portion of the domestic work vacuum, Nader hires a pregnant caregiver (Razieh), who, without telling her husband, agrees to do a rather demeaning job in order to provide for her family. One day, a frenzied misunderstanding broke out between Nader and Razieh leading to the loss of her pregnancy and we are back to the makeshift courtroom where Nader and Razieh must contend with their conscience, the law and their religion in other to save their skin.
Released in 2011, It won the Academy Awards and Golden Globe for best foreign-language film and it made number 9 on the BBC 100 greatest movies of the 21st century.