A Separation

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The big winner at this year's Berlin Film Festival, director Asghar Farhadi's drama starts with a bourgeoisie married couple on the verge of divorce. Their marital strife is only the catalyst for broader dissection of Iranian society at large; once the husband and his housekeeper start feuding over a misunderstanding, the film cuts deeply into issues of class, gender, parenting, even the nature of truth itself. Everything from the performances to the impeccable mise-en-scne is finely calibrated, and not a single false note is struck. By the time you get to the final shot—a perverse echo of the first—you'll feel that calling it a masterpiece is too mild a compliment.—DF

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New York Film Festival 2011

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