I had almost completely given up on my blogs. Every once in a while something would make me think of writing a post, but the more time a blog is dead, stronger is the reason that is needed to revive it. After a while, almost nothing seems strong enough. Not even year-end lists. I actually did make a "best hindi songs of 2011" for my own amusement, but even that didn't get me to finally publish something here.
And then, I saw "A Separation".
I saw it on 18th (my birthday), but waited for some days because a) I wanted to give myself some time so that the initial euphoria can die down and b) GG has been asking me to start blogging again, so now this can also count as her birthday gift! :P (Happy B'day GG!) :)
Anyway, for those of you who don't know about this movie, A Separation is an Iranian movie about a couple in contemporary Iran and some extraordinary circumstances that they find themselves in. You can see the trailer below, and it will tell you enough about the movie's plot and genre etc for you to decide whether this sounds like something that you'd want to see.
I was quite looking forward to this movie because it was easily the best reviewed movie of the year (95 on metacritic! no. 1 on Roger Ebert's year-end list..). The trailer increased that excitement. This was obviously the kind of movie that I normally like. When we found out that it is releasing in St Louis the day before my birthday, we really didn't have to think twice about what we were going to do to celebrate my birthday - Go and see if "A Separation" really is as good as we were hoping it to be.
It was. It really was. A lot of times when I go to see a movie with high expectations, there is a danger of me underrating it just because it didn't live upto the expectations. This movie not only lived up to them, it surpassed them. I was quite excited after watching "Hugo" recently, and "Black Swan" last year, but I really don't remember feeling THIS good about a movie after watching it for the first time since, probably, "The Lives of Others".
The movie is quite verbose. And completely devoid of any background score (which made me think of Satyajit Rai.. apparently he didn't like using music to guide and enhance emotions in movies.. a sign of inadequate storytelling skills). If you look at the trailer, it essentially seems to be about a family's troubles. Perhaps a tragic family drama, one would think. But it is really about much more than that. At times, it plays like a mystery and keeps you hooked because you want to know what the truth is. Then again, it raises Rashomon-like questions about truth itself. About morality. About letter and spirit of the law. About right and wrong and most things that are neither. And it touches you because you really do care about all of these characters. You think about those big questions BECAUSE they impact the lives of these people who really are trying to do their best given the situation they are in. The overall feel of the movie also made me think of Dekalog. Perhaps because while the movie is about big questions, it never feels that way because those things are translated so incredibly well into the lives of simple, ordinary people with seemingly simple lives.
It really is a triumph of storytelling and performances. If the trailer makes this movie seems anything like the sort of movie that you like to watch, then DO NOT miss it whenever you get an opportunity to see it.