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Feb-26-2012 20:55printcommentsVideo

Can you say, 'Iranwood'?
Director Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation' wins Oscar

Political tensions do not prevent 'A Separation' from receiving two Academy Award Nominations.

Artwork by Austin King and Sean King -

(SALEM) - With tensions running high in the Middle east and the U.S. continually taunting Iran and hovering around the idea of war, it is somewhat surprising to see a film from Iran win the award for 'Best Foreign Language Film' at tonight's Academy Awards in Hollywood. It was the second Iranian film in history to be nominated for an Oscar, and the first to win.

In addition to the Oscar win, 'A Separation' was nominated for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), which went to Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris'.

'A Separation' was the stand out film at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, and it also won a Golden Bear Award. The film is described as a suspenseful and intelligent drama that details the fractures and tensions at the heart of Iranian society.

As this film critically examines the challenges facing an Iranian family, its award offers credit to the incredibly talented filmmakers in the Middle east, in countries like Iran where populations live under sanctions and the continual threat of war.

In his Oscar acceptance speech, director Asghar Farhadi said, "At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy."

"At a time of tug of war, intimidation and aggressions exchanged between politicians, the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics."

"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment," Farhadi added.

Reuters was covering the awards and they took an interesting look at what it means to have had this film receive nearly universal critical acclaim. The film graces a number of top 10 lists for the best movies of 2011.

Two nights before the Oscar ceremony, Israeli and Iranian artists came together in a show of peace, said Lior Ashkenazi, a star of the Israeli foreign language Oscar entry "Footnote".

"At the Academy event in hour of the foreign films, we sat, spoke and all the veils came off," Ashkenazi told Israel's Army Radio. "They are warm hearted people. We invited them to Tel Aviv and they invited us to Tehran."

Farhadi was reportedly reluctant to leave Iran and venture to the U.S. to attend the ceremony; he was critical over the conviction and jail sentence of another Award-winning Iranian director in 2010, Jafar Panahi, who in addition to doing time behind bars, was also banned from making any more films. This does not create good favor for Farhadi, but he presses on. Asghar Farhadi was accompanied by writer, Asghar Farhadi, and stars, Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat.

The film is viewed by some as representative of the class struggle in Iran, others point to a generation gap and the merging of modern practices and beliefs, in a land where the most ancient traditions are still honored.

Others have interpreted "A Separation" as a comment on class differences, or as a critique of Iran's justice system, or a clash between modernity and tradition.

Farhadi made the movie under Iranian censors who impose strictures on filmmakers in the name of Islamic morality and national morale. But he has said he was not confronted with censorship.

(Iran's "A Separation" wins best foreign language Oscar - Reuters Writing by Chris Michaud and Ron Grover; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Sandra Maler)

According to the description from the trailer:

Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film boasts a range of superb performances from the ensemble cast who collectively received the Silver Bears for both Best Actor and Best Actress at the Berlinale. The compelling narrative is driven by a taut and finely written script rooted in the particular of Iranian society but which transcends its setting to create a stunning morality play with universal resonance.

When his wife (Leila Hatami) leaves him, Nader (Peyman Moadi) hires a young woman (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But he doesn't know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband's (Shahab Hosseini) permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies manipulation and public confrontations. A Separation is the first ever Iranian film to be awarded the Golden Bear.

“THE 84th ACADEMY AWARDS®” – Billy Crystal returns for his ninth time as host of “The 84th Academy Awards,” celebrating the outstanding film achievements of 2011 televised live by the ABC Television Network and in more than 225 countries worldwide. Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Emma Stone and the cast of “Bridesmaids” are among the presenters. The 84th Academy Awards telecast producers are Brian Grazer and Don Mischer. 5:30 p.m., PT/ 8:30 p.m., ET.

There is an established trend in the U.S. entertainment world that leads to very few media credits for countries that do not stand in good favor with Israeli politics. With two Tehran-based staff writers, breaks this trend in American news. Congratulations to this team from Iran and may their honor help the ailing peace process.

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

Official trailer for 'A Separation'

A Separation won "Best Foreign Language Film" at 2012 Golden Globes


Tim King, summer 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

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Ralph E. Stone February 27, 2012 8:30 am (Pacific time)

My wife and I saw "A Separation." It was a worthy choice for best foreign film. Actually, it had really wasn't a polemic on Iranian society. Rather, it dealt with two families struggling with universal issues of morality and family. I highly recommend the movie no matter what your political views.

Editor: Thanks Ralph!

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