A Separation

A Separation
A Separation.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Produced by Asghar Farhadi
Written by Asghar Farhadi
Starring Leila Hatami
Peyman Moaadi
Shahab Hosseini
Sareh Bayat
Sarina Farhadi
Merila Zarei
Music by Sattar Oraki
Cinematography Mahmoud Kalari
Editing by Hayedeh Safiyari
Distributed by Filmiran (Iran)
Sony Pictures Classics (US)
Release dates
  • 15 February 2011 (2011-02-15) (Berlin)
  • 16 March 2011 (2011-03-16) (Iran)
Running time 123 minutes [1]
Country Iran
Language Persian
Budget $500,000[2]
Box office $3,100,000 (Iran)
$22,774,527 (Worldwide)

A Separation (Persian: جدایی نادر از سیمینJodái-e Náder az Simin, "The Separation of Nader from Simin") is a 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class care giver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award.[3] It received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear.[4] It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.[5] The film was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award,[6] making it the first non-English film in five years to achieve this.


Nader and Simin have been married for 14 years and live with their 11-year-old daughter Termeh in Tehran. The family belongs to the urban middle-class and the couple is on the verge of separation. Simin wants to leave the country with her husband and daughter, as she does not want Termeh to grow up under the prevailing conditions. This desire is not shared by Nader. He is concerned for his elderly father, who lives with the family and suffers from Alzheimer's disease. When Nader decides to stay in Iran, Simin files for divorce.

The family court judges the couple's problems insufficient to warrant divorce and rejects Simin's application. Simin leaves her husband and daughter and moves back in with her parents. On the recommendation of his wife, Nader hires Razieh, a young, deeply religious woman from a poor suburb, to take care of his father while he works at a bank. Razieh has applied for the job without consulting her hot-tempered husband Hodjat, whose approval, according to tradition, would have been required. Her family is financially dependent on the work, and she takes her daughter to the house with her.

Razieh soon becomes overwhelmed by taking care of Nader's father, which is physically and emotionally demanding. On the first day of work, when she finds that the old man is incontinent, she phones a religious hotline to ask if it would be a sin for her to clean him. Assured that it would be acceptable, she continues in the job, but later hopes to get her husband into the position, without revealing that she had first worked there. She finds the work very heavy, especially as she is pregnant. Nader interviews Hodjat and hires him, but Hodjat, who is heavily in debt, is jailed by his creditors on the day he is due to start, and so Razieh returns to work for Nader.

One day, Nader and Termeh return to discover her grandfather lying unconscious on the floor in his bedroom, with one of his arms tied to the bed. Razieh is nowhere to be found. When Razieh returns, Nader accuses her of neglecting his father and of having stolen money from his room (unbeknownst to Nader, Simin used the money to pay movers). Razieh protests her innocence and requests her payment for the day's work. Outraged, Nader shoves Razieh out of the apartment. She falls in the stairwell on the way out of the building. Hodjat's sister later calls Simin to inform her that Razieh is in the hospital because she has suffered a miscarriage.

A court is assigned to determine the cause of the miscarriage and Nader's potential responsibility for it. If it is proved that Nader knew of Razieh's pregnancy and caused the miscarriage, he could be sentenced to one to three years imprisonment for murder. Nader accuses Razieh of neglecting his father. The hot-headed and aggressive Hodjat physically confronts Nader on several occasions, and threatens him, his family, and Termeh's teacher, who testifies on Nader's behalf. When Hodjat is sent out of a court hearing for an outburst, Razieh reveals that he is deeply depressed, and that he is taking antidepressants for these issues. Nader learns from Razieh's young daughter that the reason she was absent the day Nader came home early was because she had gone with Razieh to see a doctor, which Razieh had avoided revealing earlier. This news, combined with Hodjat's explosive temper, causes Nader to wonder if Hodjat is physically abusive to Razieh and had caused her miscarriage.

Termeh protects her father with a false statement and Simin, fearing for her daughter's safety, attempts to arrange a financial deal with Razieh and Hodjat, to compensate them for the loss of their unborn child. Nader is initially outraged by Simin's suggestion that they pay Razieh and Hodjat, as he feels that it would be an admission of guilt. But he also must admit that he lied about his knowledge of Razieh's pregnancy. However, Razieh has serious doubts as to whether Nader's actions caused the miscarriage; she had earlier been hit by a car while retrieving Nader's father when he had wandered out of the apartment and had first experienced symptoms of the miscarriage that night. At one point, Simin plans to come back and live with Nader, knowing that she cannot go anywhere as long as her daughter still stays here. However, after another full-blown argument, Simin changes her mind and forces Termeh to leave with her. Nader tells Termeh to go get her mother from the car and that he will agree to paying Razieh and Hodjat, if she does think that he is guilty. Termeh leaves with her mother. As Nader watches Simin's car pull away, he appears satisfied that his daughter thinks he is innocent.

Eventually, everyone, including Hodjat's creditors, meets at the home of Razieh and Hodjat to consummate the payment. Nader, still wary about the true cause of Razieh's miscarriage, writes the check but insists that Razieh swear on the Qur'an that his actions were the cause of her miscarriage. Despite Hodjat's urgings, Razieh cannot bring herself to swear, as she believes it will be a sin that could endanger their daughter. Totally dejected, Hodjat breaks down, hits himself violently and storms out of his home. Nader withholds the money.

Later, at the family court, Nader and Simin have filed for a divorce once again. Their mourning clothes indicate his father has died. The judge makes their separation permanent, and asks Termeh about which parent she chooses to live with. She tearfully says that she has made a decision, but asks that the judge tell her parents to wait outside in the hallway before she tells him. Nader and Simin wait in the hallway, separated by a glass partition.



The concept came from a number of personal experiences and abstract pictures which had been in Asghar Farhadi's mind for some time. Once he decided to make the film, about a year before it premiered, it was quickly written and financed. Farhadi described the film as the "logical development" from his previous film, About Elly. Like Farhadi's last three films, A Separation was made without any government support. The financing went without trouble much thanks to the success of About Elly.[7] The production was granted US$25,000 in support from the Motion Picture Association's APSA Academy Film Fund.[8]

In September 2010, Farhadi was banned from making the film by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, because of an acceptance speech held during an award ceremony where he expressed support for several Iranian film personalities. Notably he had wished to see the return to Iranian cinema of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an exiled filmmaker and Iranian opposition profile, and of the imprisoned political filmmaker Jafar Panahi, both of whom had been connected to the Iranian Green Movement. The ban was lifted in the beginning of October after Farhadi claimed to have been misperceived and apologized for his remarks.[9]


The film premiered on 9 February 2011 at the 29th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.[10] Six days later it played in Competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.[11] Farhadi had previously competed at the festival's 2009 edition with About Elly, for which he had received the Silver Bear for Best Director.[9] A Separation was distributed in Iran through Filmiran.[12] Distribution rights for the United Kingdom were acquired by Artificial Eye.[13]

Box officeEdit

As of 10 June 2012, A Separation has grossed $US22,774,527. [14]

Critical receptionEdit

The film has been met with universal acclaim from film critics, currently holding a 99% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 143 reviews and an average rating of 9/10,[15] as well as a score of 95 on Metacritic based on 41 reviews,[16] making it the best-reviewed film of 2011.[17]

Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter wrote from the Berlinale:

Just when it seemed impossible for Iranian filmmakers to express themselves meaningfully outside the bounds of censorship, Asghar Farhadi's Nader and Simin, A Separation comes along to prove the contrary. Apparently simple on a narrative level yet morally, psychologically and socially complex, it succeeds in bringing Iranian society into focus for in a way few other films have done.

Young noted how Farhadi portrayed Iran's social and religious divisions, and complimented the film's craft:

As in all the director's work, the cast is given top consideration and their realistic acting results in unusual depth of characterization. All five main actors stand out sharply in Mahmood Kalari's intimate cinematography. Though the film lasts over two hours, Hayedeh Safiyari's fast-moving editing keeps the action tensely involving from start to finish.[18]

In a strongly positive review from Screen Daily, Lee Marshall wrote:

Showing a control of investigative pacing that recalls classic Hitchcock and a feel for ethical nuance that is all his own, Farhadi has hit upon a story that is not only about men and women, children and parents, justice and religion in today's Iran, but that raises complex and globally relevant questions of responsibility, of the subjectivity and contingency of "telling the truth", and of how thin the line can be between inflexibility and pride – especially of the male variety – and selfishness and tyranny.[19]

Alissa Simon from Variety called it Farhadi's strongest work yet and described it:

Tense and narratively complex, formally dense and morally challenging... The provocative plot casts a revealing light on contempo Iranian society, taking on issues of gender, class, justice and honor as a secular middle-class family in the midst of upheaval winds up in conflict with an impoverished religious one.[20]

David Thomson for The New Republic wrote:

You cannot watch the film without feeling kinship with the characters and admitting their decency as well as their mistakes. The American films made this year that deal with the internal detail and difficulty of family life – like The Descendants — are airy, pretty and affluent compared with A Separation. With the best will in the world, George Clooney cannot discard his aura of stardom, yet the actors in the Iranian film seem caught in their characters’ traps.[21]

The film won the Fajr Film Festival's Crystal Simorghs for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematographer and Best Sound Recorder. It also received the Audience Favourite Film award.[22] It won the top award, the Golden Bear for Best Film, at the Berlinale Film Festival. The actress ensemble received the Silver Bear for Best Actress, and the actor ensemble the Silver Bear for Best Actor. In addition it received the Competition Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Prize.[23] Isabella Rossellini, the Jury president of the Berlinale Festival, said that the choice of Farhadi's film for the Golden Bear was "pretty unanimous".[4] Farhadi commented that he never would have thought he would win the Golden Bear, and that the film's victory offered "a very good opportunity to think of the people of my country, the country I grew up in, the country where I learned my stories – a great people".[24] Ahmad Miralaii, the director of Iran's Farabi Cinematic Foundation, said that "Iranian cinema is proud of the awards", as he welcomed Farhadi at the airport upon the director's return from Berlin.[12]

A Separation was voted the second best film of 2011 in the annual Sight & Sound critic poll,[25] as well as in the LA Weekly Film Poll 2011.[26] The film was also voted No. 3 in the annual indieWire critic survey for 2011,[27] No. 4 in the 2011 poll by Film Comment,[28] and was ranked No. 5 on Paste Magazine's 50 Best Movies of 2011.[29] Roger Ebert ranked the film No. 1 on his The Best Films of 2011 list and wrote: "A Separation will become one of those enduring masterpieces watched decades from now".[30]

Top ten listsEdit

The film has appeared on numerous critics' top ten lists for 2011,[31] some notable of which are the following:

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Group Award Result
2011 Berlin International Film Festival[34] Golden Berlin Bear Won
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost" Won
Silver Berlin Bear – Best Actor Won
Silver Berlin Bear – Best Actress Won
Durban International Film Festival[35] Best Film Won
Best Screenplay Won
Fajr Film Festival[36] Audience Award – Best Film Won
Crystal Simorgh Award – Best Cinematography Won
Crystal Simorgh Award – Best Director Won
Crystal Simorgh Award – Best Screenplay Won
Crystal Simorgh Award – Best Sound Recorder Won
Diploma of Honor – Best Actor in Supporting Role Won
Diploma of Honor – Best Actress in Supporting Role Won
Pula Film Festival[37] Golden Arena Award – International Competition Won
Sydney Film Festival[38] Official Competition Award – Best Film Won
Yerevan International Film Festival[39] Grand Prix: Golden Apricot – Best Film Won
World Cinema Amsterdam Festival[40] Parool Audience Award – Best Film Won
Saint Petersburg International Film Festival "KinoForum"[41] Grand Prix – Best Film Won
Melbourne International Film Festival[42] Most Popular Feature Film Won
15th Iran Cinema Celebration[43] Best Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Original Screenplay Won
Best Supporting Actor Won
San Sebastian International Film Festival[44] Another Look Award Won
Fukuoka International Film Festival[45] Audience Award – Best Film Won
Riga International Film Festival[46] FIPRESCI prize Won
Vancouver International Film Festival[47] Rogers People's Choice Award Won
British Independent Film Awards[48] Best Foreign Film Award Won
BBC Four World Cinema Awards[49] Best Film Won
Asia Pacific Screen Awards[50] Best Feature Film Award Won
Achievement in Directing Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle[51] Best Foreign Language Film Won
National Board of Review[52] Best Foreign Language Film Won
International Film Festival of India[53] Best Director Award Won
Satellite Award[54] Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE[55] The Silver Frog Won
Independent Spirit Awards[56] Best International Film Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Best Foreign Language Film Runner-up
Toronto International Film Festival[57] People's Choice Award Runner-up
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[58] Best Screenplay Won
Best Foreign-Language Film Runner-up
New York Film Critics Online[59] Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[60] Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[61] Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards[62] Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Women Film Critics Circle Best Foreign Film by or About Women Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle[63] Film of the Year Nominated
Foreign-Language Film of the Year Won
Director of the Year Nominated
Screenwriter of the Year Won
Supporting Actress of the Year Won
Utah Film Critics Association Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Abu Dhabi Film Festival[64] Special Jury Award Won
2012 Online Film Critics Society[65] Best Film Not in the English Language Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Dublin Film Critics Circle[66] Best Foreign Language Film Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle[67] Best Foreign Language Film Won
Denver Film Critics Society[68] Best Foreign Language Film Won
National Society of Film Critics[69] Best Picture Third place
Best Screenplay Won
Best Foreign Language FIlm Won
North Texas Film Critics Association[70] Best Foreign Language Film Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle[71] Best Foreign Film Won
Bodil Awards Best Non-American Film Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[72] Best Non-English Language Film Won
Golden Globe Award[5] Best Foreign Language Film Won
British Academy Film Awards[73] Film Not in English Language Nominated
International Cinephile Society[74] Best Picture Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Won
Best Actor Nominated
Best Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Foreign-Language Picture Won
Best Editing Nominated
Best Ensemble Won
Guldbagge Award[75] Best Foreign Film Won
Academy Award[6] Best Foreign-Language Film Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
César Award[76] Best Foreign Film Won
Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics[77] Grand Prix Nominated
Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film[78] Best Director Won
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Best Performance By An Ensemble Cast Won
Jaipur International Film Festival[79] Best Director Won
Best Actress Won
Asian Film Awards[80] Best Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Actress Nominated
Best Screenwriter Won
Best Editor Won
David di Donatello Awards[81] Best Foreign Film Won


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External linksEdit

Last modified on 12 April 2014, at 16:51