A Separation

A Separation

Summary

A Separation is a movie filmed by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. The film was released in 2011 and won numerous awards, including Oscar.

The plot is based on the wedlock of Nader and Simin, a couple that has an eleven-year-old daughter Termeh. The couple has lived together as a family for 14 years, but now Simin wants to leave the country in order to move abroad. Her husband Nader refuses this idea since his father suffers from the Alzheimer’s disease and requires constant care. Different visions of the spouses on the problem lead to Simin’s decision to demand a divorce because the woman hopes to leave the country with her daughter who is very close to her father. While the court decides on Simin’s request, she moves to her parents. Nader stays with his father and Termeh and has to hire a strange woman Rasieh as a caregiver for the old man. Rasieh has lots of own problems as well; her daughter is pregnant, while her husband has had no job for a long time already. In addition, her job responsibilities include activities and responsibilities that go against her religious principles. Rasieh appears to be rather irresponsible leaving the elderly man alone and tying his arm to the bed in her working hours. It leads to a great argument with Nader, after which the woman experiences miscarriage. At this point, many contentions take place. As a result, Nader gets to know that he is not guilty in Rasieh’s miscarriage. Later on, Nader and Simin finish their divorce process, and Termeh chooses with whom of her parents she wants to live.  

Contrasting Cultural Dimensions

The discussed film reveals the Iranian culture that significantly differs from the American one in all aspects. Referring to this movie, there are numerous examples of the cultural differences between Iran and the United States. One of the most vivid examples in the movie is the situation when Nader’s elderly father gets incontinent. As a caregiver, Rasieh has to help the old man to clean himself and get dressed; hence, the woman calls a religious hotline to ask whether it may be perceived as a sin if she helps the elderly man. A hotline agent assures her that such an action will be acceptable, and Rasieh helps Nader’s father (“A Separation,” 2011). Muslim religion predetermines that a woman cannot be in touh with a man unless this man is her husband or close relative. In American culture, the situation is quite different due to the religious aspect. Most Americans are Catholics or Protestants. These religions are not as severe in terms of male-female relationships as Muslim religion. Therefore, in the United States, it would be a responsibility of a caregiver to help an ill or elderly person in all aspects within working hours and discussed duties on the agreement of both parties. However, it would never be a matter of religion if an American caregiver should conduct such work.

The next example also involves Rasieh. The situation occurs when her husband gets to know that she has worked as a caregiver for a man and disguised it from him. He gets incredibly angry about it and is ready to fight with Nader for hiring her (“A Separation,” 2011). The culture of Iran predetermines that a man is a head of a family. Consequently, all actions of other family members, especially wife’s, must be discussed with him first. In contrast, in the American culture, a woman is an independent individual who can act in accordance with her principles. American men are not as strict as Iranian ones; that is why the level of female independence is extremely different in these two cultures.

 

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The last example of the cultural difference between Iran and the United States shown in the movie A Separation is revealed by the means of the situation when Nader accuses Rasieh in stealing. When it occurs, the woman is deeply hurt by Nader’s words. She is offended and is not going to leave his house until he takes his words back. Such behavior of the woman is a vivid feature of Iranian culture (“A Separation,” 2011). For Iranian people, such accuses are the most terrible ones, and they are ready to do everything possible in order to prove that they have not committed such a sin. Undoubtedly, an American woman would also be hurt and offended by such an accusation. However, her reaction would differ greatly; American women are not afraid to be blamed for something, especially, if they know they have not done it. Thus, in case an American woman gets into such a situation, she will simply leave Nader’s house, leaving her rightness with her and not paying any significant attention to his words.

Relationship to Course Material

The course material directly relates to thhe analyzed movie since it discusses the issue of cultural dimensions. As one can see, the certain part of the course material focuses on the religious aspect of human behavior. The behavior of such character as Rasieh is based on her religious beliefs. Hence, the aspect that was clearly and deeply discussed during the course differentiates significantly two cultures that are under discussion. In all aspects of interacting with people of that or another culture, one must take into consideration specific features of their culture. Otherwise, there will be a lot of misunderstandings and even problems that can be solved only with the help of the police. One should remember that not only personal relationships require knowing and following the cultural dimensions, but professional ties as well. The rudest and the most damaging mistake for professional relationships with people of another culture is the belief that one may behave with them as it is habitual for his or her culture. However, it is not a big mistake and shows all the unprofessionalism and ignorance of an individual.  

 

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Other Observations Related to the Different Style of Storytelling/Film Presentation

The most vivid feature of the film that can be noticed from the very beginning is the so-called “black-and-white effect,” which is typical for Iranian movies, but totally atypical for American ones. This color effect shows that the film is going to be rather hard emotionally and will provide real life situations and examples of various aspects of human being. The next example is music. It is natural that in Iranian cinematography there is Iranian music, while in American cinematography, American music is used. The flow of the plot is also rather unordinary for the American culture since it bases on the religious aspect of Iranian culture. Regarding the level of violence, one can state that American movies are much more violent than A Separation. Such a difference can be explained by the cultural perception of violence. While Americans view violence as cruel behavior to someone, Iranian people consider violence even when a man simply touches a woman without her permission. Finally, the movie A Separation does not have a happy ending in contrast to most American films. This film shows the cruel reality where the wife still insists on a divorce, and the teenage girl has to choose between two parents.