A Separation (2011) - dir. Asghar Farhadi
On the base level, this film is nothing more than people arguing with each other in Iranian at varying volumes. It’s two hours of borderline or actual yelling. And it’s discouragingly beauteous: start to finish. Some of the more glaring cultural differences cheapen the film for an American audience - there were parts I found funny, that were clearly not intended to be funny - but the acting is so dramatically contained that it works.
I’ve yet to see other works by Farhadi, but I imagine they are also quite good. The direction of this film is spot-on, sometimes the two-shots were a little corny, and the real, physical separation of characters throughout felt a little overdone… but it wasn’t. It’s on purpose and it’s there for a certain effect which it achieved gloriously. It’s a fantastic dramatic work, that should not be easily forgotten.