Many Americans were only introduced to the work of director and writer Asghar Farhadi with A Separation, which played at the 49th New York Film Festival and recently won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. A Separation's success with critics and moviegoers alike is the perfect opportunity to introduce US audiences to the brilliantly constructed narratives of Farhadi's body of work—hence the Film Society of Lincoln Center's announcement today of a new series, "Asghar Farhadi's Iran," playing April 6-8 at the Walter Reade Theater.
Besides A Separation's major awards at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Berlin Film Festival, Farhadi's four previous films have also received notice and critical acclaim. His debut feature Dancing in the Dust (2003), about an Azerbaijani émigré forced to divorce his wife due to unsavory rumors about her mother, won prizes at the Moscow and Pusan film festivals. Farhadi also won the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Award for Best Director for About Elly (2009), a classically structured melodrama about a seaside vacation of an old group of friends that goes awry. Fireworks Wednesday (2006) is a sophisticated urban drama set against the frenzy of firework celebrations of the New Year in Tehran. Beautiful City, made in 2004, focuses on a young man charged with murder held in a juvenile detention facility, while his sister forms an unlikely relationship with a paroled petty thief—all while negotiating red tape that foreshadows the legal troubles at the center of A Separation.
Farhadi’s films offer an acute, perceptive gaze into the realities of contemporary domestic life in Iran, from the margins of the working class to the relative comforts of the bourgeoisie. Although widely traveled and acclaimed on the festival circuit, where they established Farhadi as one of his country’s most vital cinematic voices, these films have been rarely seen in North America. For a complete schedule, check out the series page.