A week ago, after ironing me bloodclots, i went out with the prettiness to taste the latest Iranian movie ("film", in Arial Narrow), which i had heard reviewed on the radio, and having seen enough Iranian movies ("films", in Andale) to know how incredible they can be, knew had to be seen.  The movie, "A Separation", by director Asghar Fahadi, is up for an Oscar, but that doesn't tell you any more than the cupcake in my left sock.  i'll tell you it's excellent, and the best movie i've seen in a while (though i don't get out much).  It won't soon leave your mind.

In typical Iranian fashion, the story is simple on the outside, complex from within.  Given its lack of helicopter crashes and alien transformers dining on state capitols, it's sure to have a small audience in the US, but its one of those movies you talk about for days afterward.  The story is roughly described in the articles i've seen as one involving a woman who's asking for a divorce from her husband because he won't join her in leaving Iran because he feels a need to care for his father, who has Alzheimer's.  From there things escalate, one at a time, until the circle of characters is large, involving more than the initial family, and all tied up in a dispute that has grown much larger and with much darker consequences than the initial divorce request.  If you go see the movie, this is the story you'll follow, but within the story is a much larger truth about the nature of our relationships, and ourselves.

The story appears to revolve around a decision by the wife to leave her husband, but what you find as the story progresses is that it is the infirm father around which all revolves.  He has Alzheimer's and so cannot communicate, can't walk, can't feed himself, can't understand what is going on around him, in effect can't "live".  i was struck by the effect this disease had on all the people even remotely connected with his being.  Without their knowing, in one sense, these people found themselves incapacitated in their own ways by being associated closely with someone who was literally frozen.  And isn't this the nature of our bonds?  If we walk around, shop, visit friends, go to work, live, in one sense we do so because our freedom is shared by those we are connected to; we can do as those we area connected to do.  If we can wander, its because those we are connected to can wander.  This interconnectedness is put under a magnifying glass in this movie, when one character has his freedom removed and we witness the growing paralysis of those around him, and the ways people even remotely connected to him become bound in some manner to his frozen status; satellites orbiting an empty planet.

i'm exaggerating a bit; the story has more to it, of course.  And it won the Oscar.


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