The Iranian film A Separation, a domestic drama-turned-courtroom mystery, is among the most acclaimed of recent movies. It won a host of film festival awards, the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay—a rarity for a subtitled film. This half-million-dollar movie is even turning a profit at the US box office, with revenue approaching $4 million and rising.
A Separation is a fine film with an exceptional plot. … Still, two hours of Persians bickering under fluorescent lights isn’t a feast for the eyes. The universal and strenuous praise for this admirable but limited middlebrow film is sincere, but it’s amplified by multiple political motivations.
Were the Oscar voters trying to send a message to Washington by honoring this film? I suspect so. It’s hard to live in LA and take seriously the Washington/Tel Aviv storyline of Iran as the new Nazi Germany. That’s because the Westside is full of Iranians, many of them Jews; yet they make frequent visits home to see their kin. I don’t think Einstein vacationed in Berlin in 1939.
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