First Published: 2012-02-27

 

Iran’s ‘A Separation’ makes history at Oscars

 

Iranians express joy, pride at their country's first win at US Academy Awards thanks to Farhadi’s movie.

 

Middle East Online

By Mohammad Davari - TEHRAN

Best foreign language film

Iranians took to the Internet and mobile phones on Monday to proclaim their pride and joy at their country's first win at the Oscars -- and at the speech by triumphant director Asghar Farhadi putting culture above politics.

Messages filled SMS servers and social networks moments after the movie, "A Separation," was awarded the best foreign language Oscar at the US Academy Awards.

Only Iranians braving a ban on satellite television receivers were able to see the Oscars live, broadcast by foreign channels into their homes before dawn Tehran time.

But they quickly launched an avalanche of electronic exchanges that only increased as state-controlled television replayed the key moment throughout the day.

"I got up super early to watch the Oscars, and I am glad that we won. The movie was brilliant and it has made us all very proud in Iran. I wish there were more freedom for (Iranian) directors to express their brilliant ideas," said one 26-year-old, Sara, who did not give her last name.

Media reported the win in the United States as a victory of Iranian culture, with a few noting with glee that "A Separation" beat Israeli film "Footnote" to take the golden statuette.

"Iran cinema made history," the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said.

Another outlet, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), claimed that an "Iranian flag has been planted atop America."

The head of the culture ministry unit in charge of supervising Iran's movie industry, Ali Reza Sajadpour, told ISNA that "this success belongs to Iranian cinema."

He stressed the ministry had given its "support" to have the movie presented at the Oscars -- though he omitted to say that authorities had briefly blocked it being filmed in 2010 because of Farhadi's sympathies for other film-makers deemed "dissident."

"I am happy that the political atmosphere did not get to 'A Separation' since there was this possibility that political stances could have an impact on this award," he said.

Farhadi's acceptance speech emphasising his country's desire to be seen as a complete nation, one that contributes much more than the geopolitical tensions over its nuclear programme suggest, prompted accolades from ordinary Iranians.

"At the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, her rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics," Farhadi told the Oscars audience.

Jafar, 29, wrote on his Facebook page that his happiness was not just because of the unprecedented Oscar win -- "it's more because of what he (Farhadi) said."

Hossein, 30, from Isfahan, added: "Thank you Asghar Farhadi! It had been soooo long we hadn't taken pride in ourselves."

Negar, 28, summed it up on her Facebook page. "We all kind of knew he would win, and that the movie would get an Oscar. But the speech was what made my day. It is time for the world to look at Iran in a different light."

"A Separation" presents a social expose of the Islamic republic behind the veneer of a taut family drama, while exploring themes of love, lies and honour.

The movie begins with a reluctant divorce bid by a couple, but broadens out as they find themselves in a separate legal dispute with another couple following a desperate, tragic event at home.

As the story develops, it becomes clear that "A Separation" is about a wider narrative: that of a fracture in the country in which they live, between Iran's middle class whose values and missteps are easily recognised by audiences everywhere, and Iran's poorer underclass, with its feeling of powerlessness and adherence to religion.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Jihadists flock to fight on ‘unprecedented scale’

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli