This evening after breaking The Fast, we went over to my friend’s place to watch "A Separation". From the opening scene (above) I was totally fixated, listening and watching intently, soaking up, along with the story itself, everything that was going on around it.
This film is set in contemporary Iran, something and somewhere which I know very little about. I speak the language, and know a little bit of the culture, but despite being ethnically Iranian, watching the film was almost a bit like a kid who had lost a favourite relative watching a home video all about that relative ~ bitter sweet. I’ve never had the chance to go to Iran, nor do I think it would be such a good idea for me to go at the moment seeing as Baha’i’s (followers of the Baha’i Faith; a religion beginning in Iran some 170 years ago and to which I identify myself), as recently as the 3rd of February are being persecuted, harassed, arrested and imprisoned solely for this reason.
Every few minutes in the film I’d have heart pangs at the discrepancies between the spoken language and the subtitles, knowing that certain things are almost impossible to translate but still being able to understand them (Khaste Nabaashi???), or thinking to myself “Oh wow, that’s what the streets in Tehran look like, those are trees in Iran, that’s what a hospital there looks like or, if I lived there that’s what I might learn or wear at school if I didn’t get kicked out.” I hope one day I get to go.
I remember crying watching the director accept the Oscar for winning Best Foreign Film, and not being able to explain why - as fully connected to South Africa as I am, (and I am fully connected), Iran always feels like this missing piece of me, like I’m trying to reconstruct a picture of something but which I always have to colour and fill in based on other people’s descriptions.
It is an AMAZING film and you should make every effort to go and watch it because it really is such a beautifully told story. Tell me once you have so that we can discuss it.
I’m going to go watch it again.