Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film “A Separation,” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film this year, had this to say in his acceptance speech:
“At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker–but because at a 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, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”
Farhadi appeals to the Iranian “people” as a whole, distinguishing between them and “politicians,” presumably both Iranian and American politicians. The politicians are about intimidation and aggression, but the Iranian “people” “respect all cultures and civilizations” and oppose hostility.
It has to be admitted that the political classes of both the US and the Iran, who are edging us all closer to war, are pretty despicable, whereas opinion polling shows opposition to war among the people.
The film and its prominence are resonating among the large Iranian-American community of Southern California.
As the LAT article notes, the film is inevitably read politically by many expatriate Iranians.
But there is one feature of the film that is political in a US context, as well. The protagonist is charged with murder for causing a miscarriage. That is, the embryo is being viewed as a person by the Iranian judiciary, and so pushing a pregnant woman turns into a charge of murder.
Isn’t that where Rick Santorum and the religious Right, want to take the US, in the direction of the Islamic Republic of Iran?