A Separation, a 2011 Iranian drama film, was the recipient last Sunday night of the 84th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The distinction is the first for the country of Iran, who has extremely poor political ties with the United States, making the win monumental on a series of different levels, both culturally and politically.
Simin (Leila Hatami ) and Nader (Peyman Moaadi) are an upper middle class married couple in modern-day Iran. Their daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), has been placed in a difficult decision when her parents decide they want to divorce; leave the country with her mother, or stay with her father in the country and assist her grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
But when Nader hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat), a pregnant, impoverished woman to take care of his father, things turn ugly when he suspects her of negligence regarding the elderly man. When Nader is involved in Razieh falling down the stairs, he becomes key suspect in her miscarriage. In his plight to prove his innocence, the family’s life begins to fall apart as everyone’s morals come into question.
Directed by Asghar Farhadi, A Separation was one of the many foreign films that dominated in Southern California, bolstering a record high number of winners in the region with Saving Face (2011), a documentary from Pakistan, winning the documentary section. Appearing as the best film on Roger Ebert’s list of favorite 2011 films, the screenplay, acting, and intensity was unparalleled in 2011.