A Separation lottery

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A Separation lottery
by Esfand Aashena
24-Jan-2012
 

With the announcement of the Oscars nomination "A Separation" is nominated for 2 Oscars!  In addition to Best Foreign Film it is also nominated for Writing (Original Screenplay).  At first I was hesitant to write about this movie because in my mind I didn't want to jinx it!  I wanted to write about it AFTER it had won, but with two nominations that's just too good to pass up! 

The win in the Golden Globes is certainly noteworthy but as the host of the show said the Golden Globes is to Oscars like Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton!  A bit trashier, easier to get with less recognition!  Afterall Jim Carrey once called himself the Tom Hanks of the Golden Globes with two back to back Golden Globe wins but no Oscar nominations!  None!

So it is a great pleasure to see an Iranian film receive two Oscar nominations and deservedly so.  All those Iranians (everyone is a film critic nowadays :-) who write about this movie being "sad" should just STFU!  Seriously.  They know nothing about critically acclaimed movies and think just because a movie is in the running they should run their mouths.

The last several Oscar winners in the Best Foreign Film category were all "sad", so much so that A Separation is Laurel and Hardy in comparison.  Last year's winner was In a Better World which was a film about a doctor going to remote places in Africa treating patients.  Some of the patients were women who were pregnant (yes pregnant) and raped by a sadistic Warlord who after raping them would cut their baby out of their wombs and the women who were left to die were brought to this doctor by their husbands or fathers and then the doctor had to treat them.  Long story short, the doctor's marriage was falling apart and while his son was becoming friend with another crazy kid who wanted to make a bomb and blow someone's car, went back to Africa and ended up treating the then wounded sadistic Warlord, and the story goes on.

Not just last year's winner pretty much every year a "sad" drama wins this category.  Hardly ever a comedy and yet we want an Iranian comedy!  For those who don't want to become "sad" there is news, actually old news, that there are dozens upon dozens of Iranian comedies made every year.  In my recent trips I bought and brought dozens of them here because I didn't want people to nag, I wanted them to see these comedies and enjoy their time.  So you can do the same watch the comedies and don't make stupid comments about "sad" Iranian movies. 

Life in Iran is fucked up, how else you're supposed to portray it?  Actually, most of Iranian movies have elements of comedy in them, like a dramedy, but that may not be enough for some.  Movies in general are supposed to take you to another world and live the lives of those people for couple of hours. 

Enough about the naggers.  For the rest of us we should enjoy this time regardless of whether or not it wins one or two Oscars.  It's like buying a lottery ticket.  Until the drawing day you keep dreaming and thinking what you'd do with all that money!  You buy houses, condos, cars, charity, family and so much with that money!  I am doing the same with A Separation and this lottery promises to be a winner more than any other time that I have bought a ticket!

So much is being said, so much has already been said.  Farhadi has already said the right thing in Golden Globes when he said his people are peace loving people.  He keeps saying the right things.  This is one of those rare occasions, like the National soccer team being in the World Cup, that the Iranians come together.  From Khamanei to MKO to Monarchists and everyone in between roots for the same team and now the same film!  Though some are conflicted over it for one reason or another, I say some and that probably means a few thousands at most amongst the 70 million or so Iranians.

I leave you with Farhadi's latest comment in an interview.  What he thinks the ending and the choice for the 11 year old daughter mean:

  "In a sense, human agency has decreased," says Farhadi. "The characters are inherently good, but their environment pushes them to fight with one another."
 
At the end of the film, when Nader and Simin proceed with their divorce even after Agha Joon's death, the final decision of whether to live with Nader and stay in Iran, or leave the country with Simin, lies with their child, Termeh. It is a great burden for an 11-year-old to bear alone, but it is something she must do, according to Farhadi.
 
"Termeh represents the future generation in Iran, which will eventually attain freedom,” says the director. “But in Iran, we think democracy means comfort, when in fact freedom means having to bear responsibility, which is difficult. Thus Termeh is experiencing freedom: but it is painful.”

Photo caption:  Cinema Esteghlal in Tehran when it showed A Separation last spring.

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more from Esfand Aashena
 
Esfand Aashena

Oscars are not shown live on West Coast? What a bummer!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


yolanda

.....

by yolanda on

oh, really?

I am watching now! so East Coast people watched already?


Esfand Aashena

SEPARATION AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY SEPARATION WON AT LAST!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

Separation detractors don't want Separation to win!

by Esfand Aashena on

In this review they're saying the Belgium film Monsieur Lazhar "Will Win" whereas Separation is a "Should Win"!  Others are casting the In Darkness the Holocaust movie as another contender that will win.

Separation "Shall Win"! 

Everything is sacred


yolanda

.........

by yolanda on

Thank you, Mouse, for the excerpt! I can't wait for Oscar!

I can't accept the defeat!


Esfand Aashena

Iranian Film 'A Separation' Favorite to Win Academy Award

by Esfand Aashena on

Our nation's capital isn't the only town keeping an eye on Iran this week. Hollywood is, too.

Iranian Film 'A Separation' Favorite to Win Academy Award

For critics and film scholars, "A Separation" works on many levels. "The writing is flawless, the directing is superb; it's a serious, well-crafted movie, but it isn't ever tedious. It's an audience movie," Guy Flatley of Moviecrazed.com says. "I would be very surprised if it doesn't get the Academy Award."

So will it win? Most say yes. But Richard Pena, program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, cautions that there might be a backlash in the voting. He says he thinks it's "very strong and deserves to win" and "it's the right moment."

But there might be members of the Academy who won't vote for it, believing a "yes" vote would mean rewarding Iran's "system, seen as totalitarian and authoritarian," he said. "Or you might have people who think voting for this is a vote for peace, that say art rises above these preoccupations."

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

How an Iranian film unites us all

by Esfand Aashena on

I didn't know Termeh is Farhadi's real daughter (Sarina Farhadi).

How an Iranian film unites us all 

As such, it can find a mirror in an American political system in which politicians are willing to mouth any absurdity to appeal to a noisy, marginalized and in many cases fundamentalist minority, whose inclinations toward freedom, intellect, diversity and reason don't place them all that far from the mullahs. Frankly, you don't want either group to have a nuke.

Everything is sacred


incognito

فارسی شکر است

incognito


کلمات و اصطلاحات دهان پر کن در فارسی کم نیست. بطور نمونه، "عاقل و بالغ و راشد."  و در رابطه با مصاحبه فرهادی، "اختیار."  تو خود حدیث مفصل بخوان از این مجمل.


Esfand Aashena

I didn't know we had a "human agency"!

by Esfand Aashena on

Having read that wiki link that you provided it'd make sense.  I think Farhadi probably used the word "ensaniyat" or human decency but they ended up translating it to a more sophisticated and mouthful word! 

Everything is sacred


incognito

Lost in translation?

by incognito on

The interview with Farhadi published in CSM was conducted by one Roshanak Taghavi. Her name is Iranian, which raises the possibility that it was conducted in Persian and translated by the correspondent. In the context of the quoted sentence “agency” makes much more sense to me than “decency.” So, the question is what word in Persian did Farhadi use?


Esfand Aashena

incognito sorry I missed your comment.

by Esfand Aashena on

My intention wasn't to single out a gastrointestinal person or dignify naysayers.  My intention about mentioning this side of the Separation story was because many already have this idea that Iranian films are "sad". 

I remember when the movie was first shown in Iran those who had seen it would first say it was a good movie but "as usual" sad.  That went on for a while until the film started winning (winning :-) and then people started taking another look and this time they all liked it and the "sad" comment went away.

The 2/5 of the blog that I used to cover this subject was because in general we should expect the Iranian cinema to portray the realities on the ground which is "sad".  There are comedies and dramas and they make tons of movies every year.  Think past the sadness and live in the moment.  That's why you go to the movies isn't it?

thanks for your comment. 
 

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

Human decency not human agency!

by Esfand Aashena on

In the interview in the first paragraph that I quoted from Farhadi, I think there is a spelling error either made by the print or Farhadi thinks agency is decency in English!  But the intention is clear, it should be "human decency has decreased". 

Mona jaan you're welcome.  There are other new generation of our artists who have artists parents as well.  I can't name many right on top of my head but Ehsan Khaje Amiri is to us as Enrique Iglasias is to others!  He is Iraj's son as Enrique is Julio's son ;-)  His baraye akharin bar is a hit song and young Iranian girls/women zaef mikonan barash and this song!

Ghasem! 10:30 for first showtime is a good time, here in US first showing is at 11 and when I'm in Iran I get up early and by the time I have breakfast and hit the pavement it's about 9:30. 

Everything is sacred


Monda

Thanks for all the great info

by Monda on

Esfand, it was the first time I read this interview of Farhadi. And I had not heard of "In a Better World"'s winning last year.

Also, I had no idea about Hatami's parents. (i must search for kolbeye on sooye roodkhaaneh too! mersee)


Mash Ghasem

Did any body notice, the time for first show in the morning?

by Mash Ghasem on

It starts at 10:30. Wouldn't that be a bit early?


Esfand Aashena

Demo that quote from Farhadi is not for u! Don't worry about it!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


Demo

The Book of Silence

by Demo on

“But in Iran, we(?) think(?) democracy (?) means comfort (Really, since when?), when in fact (Vow!)
freedom means having to bear responsibility (& now that is too much wisdom!), which is difficult (No pity party, please!). Thus (wrong ending!) Termeh is experiencing freedom (Here we go again!): but it is painful (for whom?).”

With all his wisdom, Rumi has a prayer asking GOD to include him in the Book of Silence and repeateddly tells his deciples that silence will create respect and dignity. But unfortunately most of us as Iranians do not learn from such valuable lessons.

Now whether or not the movie wins any Oscar, the message above really deseves the top Turkey award and is a 100% proof of the so called elite/educated class 'separation' from the realities/truths of our society. For instance, Like Farhadi the mentioned class calls the whole society as 'we' and express their own opponions as the statements of the facts. And such is often really painful to bear!

P.S. Hope that winning these 2 Oscar awards will not be as useless and as self serving as Ebadi's nobel peace award!

 


Esfand Aashena

In Washington DC you can now watch it on big sreen w/ subtitles.

by Esfand Aashena on

In Washington DC area: 

 AMC Shirlington in Virginia

 Bethesda Row Cinema in Maryland

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

Hand to hand combat between Separation and Darkness!

by Esfand Aashena on

In Darkness Awards vs A Separation Awards.

If Separation doesn't win There Will Be Blood! 

Everything is sacred


vildemose

 Yolanda: I'm not worried

by vildemose on

 Yolanda: I'm not worried about Footnote but the other Polish movie, "In  Darkness" by  W ciemności (In Darkness), Agnieszka Holland

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1417075/

That one is a formidable contender.

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Esfand Aashena

Footnote, the Israeli nominee.

by Esfand Aashena on

While every movie that is nominated is noteworthy and I will certainly see it, Footnote is about a father and son in academics.  Separation has a lot going and an active movie that keeps you interested throughout.  Besides Separation has won many awards with the current list of competitors.

As far as IRI oh IRI not allowing Farhadi to attend, they usually do this for athletes who have to compete in person, like hand to hand combat!  In this case Farhadi is just sitting at a table and they either call his name or not.  In World Cup they'll let the team play as long as they are not in the same group.  They don't have enough faith that either team will get passed their groups!

Everything is sacred


Faramarz

Anahid

by Faramarz on

Kolbeh ei aan sooieh Roodkhaneh was a popular story by Manouchehr Motiei in the weekly Zan-e-Rooz. It was turned into a movie in the 70's. It was the story of a forbidden love and a pregnancy and a happy ending at the end!

Manouchehr Motiei was also the writer of "bar sar-e do raahi" which was one of the most popular weekly stories on Zan-e Rooz.


yolanda

.......

by yolanda on

Hi! Mouse,

   An Israeli movie is nominated for Oscar alongside "A Separation".......I am a little worried that IRI may force Farhadi to boycott the Oscars. Let's see what happens!


vildemose

Separation is also

by vildemose on

Separation is also nominated for the 'Best screemplay''; A first in Hollywood.

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Esfand Aashena

Separation prayer offensive!

by Esfand Aashena on

Faramarz jaan remember few years ago when Supreme Court ruled something about gays (forgot what it was) and Pat Robertson issues a "prayer offensive" for something bad to happen to the Justices?  I think it's time for a prayer offensive for Separation to get the Oscars, both of them!

In fact, I motion that if it doesn't win we start our own Occupy Hollywood all over the United States!

If it wins two Oscars it will go on top of the list as movies having won more than one which usually are not many.  One film wins few but most win just one and twos are less than a handful.

Yes Zari Khoshkam was the bomb and among my "subjects"! ;-)

As far as Separation's ending and letting the daugher to decide, well it's like that everywhere and nothing unusual.  The Judge wants to hear from the child now whether or not the Judge goes with the child's wishes is another step.

Every year when the nominations come out I print a list and make sure I see all of them because there is something special about each one, no matter what category they were nominated.  Except last year I didn't see 123 Hours, seemed like a waste of time to watch one guy waiting to cut his own leg!  Thanks but no thanks!

Anahid jaan this movie like all other movies nominated in this category have a universal appeal.  As I mentioned in the blog these movies let you live in another world for couple of hours.  Good movies are supposed to do this.  People who are mature enough are able to enjoy these movies in addition to Hollywood movies.  

Yolanda I don't think it matters if Farahani comes or not.  One day she may get her own nomination.  All eyes are on Farhadi.  The guy who played Nader was with him in Golden Globes and perhaps the rest of the cast, or at least most of them, can join him for the Oscar night.  They can all come to the stage like when the Slumdog Millionaire won the best picture!  All aboard! 

Everything is sacred


Faramarz

Vildemose

by Faramarz on

I was also surprised to find out that she was the daughter of Ali Hatami and Zari Khoshkam.

Leila Hatami came to the Berlin awards and was careful with her words. She lives in Iran and she has to watch what she says. I hope that they all will be freed soon so that they can wear what they want and say what they wish.


yolanda

.....

by yolanda on

I hope "A Separation" wins! I am anxious to hear what the director will say this time! I was wondering if Farahani will be invited to the Oscars?


Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Esfand for the blog. Question for Faramarz

by Anahid Hojjati on

Esfand jaan, I think this movie; A separation,  has resonated with some people very deeply. A good friend of mine recenty saw the movie and she has sent many e-mails writing about how great this movie is.

Faramarz,  I liked "Leila Hatami" in the movie "Leila". I remember Zari Khoshkam from her work including "Soltane Sahebgharan". But could you please explain about "Kolbeh ei aan sooie Roodkhaneh". I don't remember that, even though it sounds familiar.


incognito

Why dignify naysayers?

by incognito on

Two-fifth of your blog is wasted scolding someone for his
gastrointestinal reaction to Farhadi’s film. Why? ‘A Separation’ is a mirror we Iranians – and possibly others – see ourselves in, whether we like it or not. His reaction was denial. No one should be surprised, let alone angered.

One can learn from the silverer himself. Notice how Farhadi shines – as you quoted – in the CSM’s propaganda rough.


vildemose

Dear Farmarz: I had no idea

by vildemose on

Dear Farmarz: I had no idea she was the daughter of Zari Khoshkam..Thanks for sharing that info. Where is Leila?? Is she in Iran? Was she forbidden to come to US??

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr S

olzhenitsyn.