By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 23, 2014
Like all Iranian movies, “Jodái” starts with the name of Allah but unlike many Iranian movies, Asghar Farhadi’s film touches upon a dense plethora of themes with unparalleled dexterity. Some of the themes are typical to the Iranian society whereas others have a universal connotation. Divorce can be one of the most arduous experiences in the life of any couple who attempt to sever their martial bond. Farhadi explores the divorce of a middle class couple Simin and Nader. Nevertheless, the couple’s story unfolds into the story of another couple from a lower social class and their strife to preserve their sense morality as they struggle for subsistence.
The Film stars Iranian actress Leila Hatemi as Simin and Payman Maadi as the husband Nader. The couple fails to narrow the chasm between their joint responsibilities and their individual priorities. Nader makes of his Alzheimer –struck father is his top priority while Simin looks for better future prospects for her daughter after she and her husband completed the visa immigration procedure. Their daughter Termeh played by Farhadi’s daughter Sarina is caught in the middle the couple’s wrangling. Nader hires, Razia (Sareh Bayat), a housemaid who is in charge of keeping the house and assisting his idle father. Uncertain whether her cleaning of the old man is a sin, Razia has to call an “iftaa” line to have a religious opinion on the matter. The tension builds incrementally and culminates when Nader shuts Razia out of his house as a punishment for her negligence. The latter sues him for prompting her miscarriage after he pushed her out from his house. Razia’s husband adopts a vengeful attitude towards Nader, whom he considers as the representative of corrupt elite.
The most stunning performance in the film is that of Razia, who remains is engulfed in a spiral of religious and moral tumult. She measures every action she undertakes against her religious benchmarks. Her search for moral integrity and her immutable uncertainty is the epicenter of tension in the story. Leila Hatemi plays her role with a distinguished elegance but nonetheless with a poignant authenticity. The daughter Therme transfers her uneasiness about her parents’ divorce with a great deal of subtlety. A special regard must be paid to the Alzheimer-struck father who remains another cornerstone in the film despite his silence and apathy.
Farhadi weaves a story in which the characters are enmeshed in a dense aggregate of factors that taint their behavior and statements with ambivalence and uncertainty. Contrary to all expectations, A Separation is neither about gender bias nor religious authority in contemporary Iran. Farhadi makes a well thought dosage of factors to build tension in the film from a very casual situation. Farhadi accosts religion and morality with an understated manner without losing the focus on the individual struggle.
The mood of the film is marked by looming ambiguity and endoscopic struggles. Later the viewer would realize that the director’s ‘camera is not omniscient and happens to leave out some crucial scenes. Indeed, Farhadi leaves many interstices that remain unnoticed until the story reaches its climax with the trial of Nader. The question of morality is pervading in the film and each character wrestles with her/hisown principles and priorities.
Though the dynamics in the movie is ushered initially by Simin’s request for divorce, yet the process of separation unravels more complex issues namely class struggle in the modern Iranian society as well as the discrepant weight of religion among these classes. It also shows weary characters that have lost in the midst of the urban routine the exhilaration and the ardor that life may bring.