film: a separation

In childhood, words are weightless - I shout I hate you and it means nothing, the same can be said for I love you - but as an adult, those very words are used with greater care, they no longer slip out of the mouth with the same ease. I do is another example, a phrase that in childhood is only the stuff of playacting, a game between children, but then grows freighted with meaning.
—  Katie Kitamura, A Separation 

The Iranian film The Salesman is one of the five nominees for this year’s foreign-language Academy award. It’s written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, who won the Oscar for his 2011 film, A Separation, and centers on a theater company presenting Death of a Salesman. Critic David Edelstein says:

“A woman is brutally assaulted in the early part of Asghar Farhadi’s gripping Iranian drama The Salesman. The woman, Rana, is washing up in the bathroom of her new apartment in an unfamiliar part of Tehran, just home from acting in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, where she plays Willy Loman’s wife. She hears the buzzer from downstairs and thinks it’s her husband, Emad, who plays Willy, so she unlocks the door and returns to what she was doing. Later, when Emad does get home, he sees blood everywhere. He finds Rana in the hospital, where the wounds on her face are being stitched. She won’t talk about what happened, not then, not a few days later. The nature of the assault, a description of the assailant, the motive—it’s a blank to be filled by Emad’s churning suspicions and fears.

That blank is central to many of Farhadi’s films. His Oscar-winning A Separation turns on a woman’s unseen fall in a staircase: Not knowing what happened makes us consider the destructive social forces that helped put that woman on that staircase at that time. In my favorite movie of Farhadi’s, About Elly, a young female teacher disappears while visiting colleagues at their beach house. As they learn more about their absent guest, the focus subtly shifts to the trauma of her life—and by implication the lives of many working single women in modern Iran. As much as whodunits, Farhadi makes whatdunits and whydunits.”

When the U.S. government decided to abruptly impose a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen) last week it caused pandemonium in international airports across the country. Travelers were removed from planes and denied passage while others were handcuffed, interrogated without legal representation and isolated from family and friends. Massive protests erupted and flights faced delays as the public tried to make sense of the situation.

Amid the chaos, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi expressed concern that he would not be allowed to enter the country to attend the upcoming Academy Awards in Los Angeles where his latest film, THE SALESMAN (’16), is an Oscar contender for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film. When it became clear that his safe passage could not be guaranteed, Farhadi announced he wouldn’t be attending the award’s ceremony citing that officials were responding to his questions with “ifs and buts, which are in no way acceptable to me, even if exceptions were to be made for my trip.”

Read More on StreamLine: The Search for Common Ground: A SEPARATION (‘11)

In which somehow they got their hands on a functioning old world TV and vhs or dvds and Furiosa is totally not buying this horror movie at all, NOPE she’s just being considerate to Max who clearly is the distressed one. Max is not going to argue.

Number 12 for Prompts.