“Traveling around North America and Europe this year for festival showings of A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and his cast have discerned a pattern. Audiences arrive skeptical, anticipating something exotic and unfamiliar, and leave pleasantly surprised that they understand and can identify with the film’s characters.

“‘At a lot of these festivals, they tell me afterward that they were expecting deserts and camels’ and ‘thinking that women in our country are not allowed even to drive, much less ask for a divorce,’ says Peyman Moaadi, who plays the male lead. ‘But Asghar is showing a new image of Iran, portraying the way that millions of normal people live in Iran today.'” — from Larry Rohter‘s 12.21 N.Y. Times story, “A Searing Family Drama Reveals A Human Side Of Iran.”

I wrote the following after seeing A Separation in Tellurde: “Soon after I slipped into the Chuck Jones theatre early yesterday afternoon I knew I was in the presence of something genuine, compassionate, complex and unflinching. This Iranian film is affecting and profound in a way that transcends nationality and culture and any other obstacle you can think of.”