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.

 

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk