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“A Separation”, watching an Iranian movie

A separation, Asghar FarhadiI must confess that I rarely watch movies at the cinema, because I rarely watch movies in general, even if I do not have anything against movies. And to support this statement, I can tell you that I have not anything against books, but, nevertheless, I rarely read books. I could provide many motivations for such idiosyncrasies, ranging from the most straightforward to the most abstruse ones. But since not always more complex means closer to reality, I think that laziness could be fair enough, as a first tentative explanation.

What I tried to state, despite in a rather implicit manner, is that when I decide to watch a movie at the cinema, I have a double approach to it. On one side, since I sit in front of the big screen just a few times per year, I do not have great expectations concerning the movie, regardless of the rumours about it. On the other hand, because of the same reason, I place great hopes in the movie.

The last movie I watched is Iranian, and is entitled A Separation, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi.
I must admit that all the expectations I had before were satisfied, together with the ones I never had.

The movie is totally dry and essential. Whatever is not functional to the definition of the characters through the plot, is accurately removed, like the unneeded weights which would slow down a racing car. A crystal clear example is the total absence of music and breaks during the whole movie. The first time you can listen to some music background is also the last one, i.e. the end of the movie.

The plot of the movie is dramatic, even though it is not particularly original, but this is not the question, as it looks more like a means to be exploited, rather than a target to be achieved. The real focus of the movie is, indeed, the evolution of the two main characters, a man who, after the separation from his wife, needs assistance for his elderly and sick father, and a married woman who offers help to him.

Through a path studded with lies, partially disclosed truths, and constraints imposed as a dogma, the evolution of the main characters is rather an involution. A progressive loss of credibility compromising the trust of a daughter in her father, and of a husband in his wife.

The two characters seem to share the reason for such a degradation. And it looks like a sort of wicked embrace they share, an ideal hug drifting them down into a slow but unavoidable personal fall and failure, leading to regrets and loneliness.

The reason for all this appears to be desperation. A totally irrational feeling turning into something else, into a sort of state of mind, within which everyone is enabled to identify his/her own truth.

The unsaid message is that the truth of what happens is neither an objective concept that admits different interpretations and points of view, despite remaining unique, nor a matter of facts. And desperation is the propellant of truth, leading to the following paradigm: the more I am desperate and aggressive in endorsing my truth, the more my truth is true compared to the one belonging to others.

Nonetheless, since the points of view can be multiple while the truth is unique, the involution, that the two characters follow during the plot unveiling through the movie, can be only oriented towards the loss of trust and belief in them.

Indeed, while different points of view about a matter of fact bring to different interpretations, on the other hand, different truths about a matter of fact bring to different lies.

My direct experience with Iranian people is very limited, and constrained within the borders of my job. However, the mechanism of desperation-as-a-truth-maker emerging from the movie is very close to what I observed at work with my eyes and my sensing. And since I work in the field of science, desperation is the most faraway approach one could imagine with respect to the objectivity of the scientific method.

As it always happens when the idea of doing something meets the fact of doing that very thing, expectations are disappointed. But at the same time, an unexpected satisfaction defines the profile of ex post expectations replacing the previous and missed ones. And the result is the positive feeling of taking a step forward in developing consciousness and comprehension. Quite a lot for just watching a movie at the cinema.

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