Film club showcases the best of Iranian film industry

April 24, 2013

It is probably not widely known that the Iranian (previously Persian) Film industry is one of the oldest and most significant in terms of cinema history in the world. Cinema was only five years old when the first film of the Shah of Persia’s visit to Europe was filmed in 1900, and the first Cinema was opened in Tehran in 1904.

Film thrived in Persia until the Khomeini revolution in 1979, when the whole industry suffered repression and censorship . This censorship continues today, with massive censorship of state-run Hollywood classics and regular banning of Directors, writers and any material which is considered to be politically unsuitable.

This makes the film which the Film Club has chosen to screen on Sunday all the more remarkable.

“A Separation”, shot in 2010 and first released in 2011, is Iran’s most successful film ever. It became the first Iranian film to ever win an Academy Award when, in 2012, it took out the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and also became the first non-English film to be nominated for an Oscar in another category (Best Original Screenplay). The film also won the Golden Globe in that year.

The Film Club chooses a foreign film in each annual program, and “A Separation” follows two other Academy Award winners in “The Lives of Others” (2011) and “The Secret in Their Eyes” (2012). Both those films were very well received by members, and this film will be no exception.

“A Separation” tells the story of Nader and Simin, who have been married for 14 years and live with their daughter Termeh in Tehran. The family belongs to the urban middle-class and the couple is on the verge of separation. Simin wants to leave the country with her husband and daughter, as she does not want Termeh to grow up under the prevailing conditions. This desire is not shared by Nader. He is concerned for his elderly father, who lives with the family and suffers Alzheimers Disease. When Nadir decides to stay in Iran, Simin files for divorce.

What follows provides a gripping narrative, which kept me on the edge of my seat when I saw the film at the Playhouse in Barraba some time back. It also explains the social structure, and life in present day Iran, better than any documentary ever could.

“A Separation” is highly recommended. It is rated PG and has sub-titles.

PLEASE NOTE that Film Club screenings begin at 4pm – not 4.30 pm , which is the starting time advised on Roxy program posters.

New Members Welcome.
The Club membership currently stands at 33, and new members are always welcome. For new members joining this month, the subscription is $48 for the remaining 9 films for 2013. Visitors and temporary members are welcome at $10 per film. Memberships can easily be arranged at the Roxy prior to screening. Just another reminder that Sundays s film commences at 4pm.