When: 18 October 2019, 18:00 — 21:00
Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square, CINEMA
FREE, Book your place here
A Separation Asghar Farhadi, Iran, 2011, 123 minutes
Simin (Leila Hatami) is seeking a divorce from Nader (Peyman Moaadi). She wants to take their daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) in search of a better life in another country. However, Nader can’t leave his father, who is suffering from dementia. Hence the divorce. With Termeh at school, and Simin having moved back to her parents’ home, Nader needs someone to look after his father during the day. He is put in touch with the devout Razieh (Sareh Bayat), whose volatile husband Hojjat (Seyyed Shahab Hosseini) is out of work. Farhadi’s film tempts one to see it as an allegory of the Islamic Republic: a precarious and disunited middle class, and the rest of the country caught between piety and violence. Yet the story is vividly specific. Nader comes home to find his father has fallen and Razieh gone. While he is trying to resuscitate his father, Razieh returns. As Nader ejects her from his flat, she falls. She subsequently has a miscarriage. What follows is part family drama, part thriller. It is also a sceptical enquiry into the capacity of the law to grasp the messy complexity and conflicting intentions of the lives it arbitrates. Divided from each other by gender and by class, the characters seem locked in mutual incomprehension. Nader and Simin are often stuck on opposite sides of glass partitions. Their daughter is quietly observant of them both ̵̵ as it turns out, almost too observant. Each parent inflicts the burden of choice upon her, and finally so too does the law.