I got plenty done on Sunday. Caught up on some reading, went to buy some essentials, returned an accidental purchase, met up with N at her place, replied to a distress text from Z and to end the night, we went for what supposedly be a nice dinner to blow off some steam, so to speak. As we were about to order our food, I noticed a huge flat screen television and was admiring at it ‘cos it was pretty damn big and sleek looking. Was wondering whether it was an LG model, or could it be its competitor Samsung? These Korean companies are always trying to outdo each other, trying to prove which one has the biggest arsenal. Ah well. Anyways, while I was still figuring out which one was it, Z was nudging me and gesturing me towards the tv. And so I thought to myself, she must be sharing the same thought which was kind of funny in an odd-ish way, hence I asked, “Z, it’s definitely LG right? seems to look like it. hmmm…,” Her gaze was fixated towards the screen and she murmured something as a reply and seconds after she half-screamed at me, “I knew it, I knew ‘The Help’ (Octavia Spencer) would win!”
Hang on a quick sec, the Oscars was showing tonight?! How did I not know that? Hmm..my tummy was making weird noises by then so the most important thing to do at that instant was to comply to its needs. Oscars can wait for a bit. Besides, Z was pretty much doing a play by play commentary of the awards while I was stuffing myself with a below par veggie pizza slices and undercooked Marinara mussels. I glanced at the tv a couple of times and saw Hugo winning a whole lot of golden statues, no surprises there though i never really quite fancy the picture. Then came the award for best foreign film and I saw the presenter, Oscar winner Sandra Bullock was about to announce the nominees and I think at some point, she was speaking in Dutch before I heard the crowd’s somber laughter. The last nomination clip that was shown got my attention ‘cos I remembered holding my cup half-way as I was about to sip my tea. The said film is an Iranian production entitled ‘A Separation’. As soon as the clip ended, before Ms Bullock could unfold the card/envelope thing to announce the winner, I called it out loud – “It’s going to be ‘A Separation’ Z!,” and lo and behold, yes it was, it was indeed! It won the coveted best foreign film award and I was still in awe from watching its 10-15 seconds long clip. Z was suggesting maybe we could do something else rather than hanging out at this joint and not being able to enjoy watching the Oscars due to the audio that was playing simultaneously and quite as loudly I might add. I was more than happy to leave, and then she said quite spontaneously, “Let’s watch that movie?,” To that I replied “Nowww? (pause) Okay, why not?,” So we drove to the nearest theater and barely made it for the last screening of the film. As expected, the hall was as good as empty so we had the pleasure of choosing the best seats available. Hurrah!
Two hours and 15 minutes later, the both of us couldn’t budge from our seats. We were still so amazed, so taken and so mesmerized by its storytelling that it took us awhile to get back to the ‘alternate reality’, the present, our present in this part of the world. From the beginning of the film, I felt as though I was apart of the story, living it as they were trying to solve their lives crisis. I wasn’t just a moviegoer watching a movie on the big screen. No, I was so immersed, so affected, and for the two hour long, I was in their lives. I’ve never watched a film that felt so real, and ‘A Separation’ managed to capture my interest and got me wholly invested in the story without the assistance of stuntmen, fancy artwork or CGI thingamajig enhancements. Even after half through the film, I wasn’t really dependent on the subtitles because the acting from the ensemble spoke for itself. Moreover, they had managed to convincingly emote every expressions and exchanges and as the story unfolds, they got me rooting for the best possible outcome in their attempt to resolve the conflicts. The pace of the film was just perfect and I didn’t once even encountered a ‘lost in translation’ moment as I sometimes do when I’m watching a foreign film. I don’t want to give anything away because I truly believe that this film should be seen by other filmgoers regardless whether you are a fan of foreign films or not. I classify this film by director Asghar Farhadi to be in the drama genre because there is plenty of drama going around in it. I like how he incorporated the importance of Islam, its teachings and beliefs that we seldom get to witness in most religious plot driven films. I felt the dilemma, anguish, anger and frustrations that each of the characters were experiencing. How culture and religion (and the laws that govern it) are very important factors in determining a person’s decision that could just be as life altering with unforetold consequences, that sometimes life takes you to different paths and you must do what you must when the occasion calls for it. ‘A Separation’ is essentially a movie about how the lives of two families somehow got intertwined in a bound fate, and how a significant initial decision had cause a ripple effect affecting everyone along as they systematically got roped in the predicament.
My verdict? Well, it’s rather obvious don’t you think? Leaving the dingy restaurant, its fancy tv and live telecast of the Oscars was most definitely the best decision we made that night. Besides, I was rather bummed that one of my favorite actresses, Tilda Swinton wasn’t nominated for her brilliant stint in ‘Let’s Talk About Kevin’. I checked my Tweets later that night after I got home and found out both actresses that I was rooting for didn’t bring back the shiny Oscars with them either. You both brought my favorite fictional characters to life so beautifully Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis; and for that I thank you.
Till next year. Buenas noches!