A Separation

Leila Hatami as Simin and Peyman Moadi as Nader in 'A Separation.'

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film belongs right here. With rare subtlety and transforming art, the remarkable writer-director Asghar Farhadi takes us into the emotional heart of modern Iran. Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) are a middle-class couple seeking a divorce. She wants to move abroad with their 11-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi, the director's child). He wants Termeh to stay. With the male-dominated state on his side, Nader makes a home with Termeh and his dementia-afflicted father, as well as the father's nurse, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), who supports an unemployed husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), and a daughter of her own. When Nader accuses the pregnant Razieh of abusing his father, violence erupts. As the tension builds in court, Farhadi reveals his country in microcosm, divided by gender, class, religion and invisible borders of destruction. The actors do wonders, uncovering rich depths in their characters. A Separation is a landmark film. No way will you be able to get it out of your head.

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