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A Separation [Blu-ray]
(Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Asghar Farhadi
Video: Artificial Eye
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
NOTE: Screener was region FREE - final product will be region 'B'-locked!
Disc Size: 34,647,899,934 bytes
Feature Size: 31,966,379,520 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.40 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 21st, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Iranian (Other) 1212 kbps 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1212 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio Iranian (Other) 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• Interview with Director Asghar Farhadi (7:44 in 576i)
• Asghar Farhadi talks about A Separation (14:43 in 576i)
• Interview with Leila Hatami (8:13 -in 576i)
•Trailer (1:58 in 1080P)
Description: The stand out film of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and winner of the Golden Bear, A Separation is a suspenseful and intelligent drama detailing the fractures and tensions at the heart of Iranian society. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film boasts a range of superb performances from the ensemble cast who collectively received the Silver Bears for both Best Actor and Best Actress at the Berlinale. The compelling narrative is driven by a taut and finely written script rooted in the particular of Iranian society but which transcends its setting to create a stunning morality play with universal resonance. When his wife (Leila Hatami) leaves him, Nader (Peyman Moadi) hires a young woman (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But he doesn t know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband s (Shahab Hosseini) permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies manipulation and public confrontations. A SEPARATION is the first ever Iranian film to be awarded the Golden Bear.
Wanting to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh, Simin makes all the necessary arrangements. However,... her husband Nader refuses to leave behind his father who suffers from Alzheimers. Determined to leave, Simin sues for divorce, and when her request is rejected, she moves in with her parents. Her daughter Termeh chooses to stay with her father with the hope that one day her mother will change her mind.
‘A Separation’ is lively and suspenseful as both drama and debate. It employs a tricksy moral compass that swings all over the place as we see its story from various viewpoints. It prods gently at middle-class entitlement of the how-can-this-be-happening-to-me variety, but it also avoids the trap of coming down on the side of less worldly characters. If it reserves a significant amount of sympathy for anyone, it’s for the side players – the old man and the kids – to whom its gaze keeps returning, refusing to forget those outside the eye of the storm but equally bruised by it.
Apart from the conceit of making the viewer the judge in the opening
scene (by never showing the judge and having Nader and Simin address
their pleas direct to camera), Farhadi employs mostly hand-held cameras
throughout, giving the film an effective documentary-like feel and a
strong sense of realism throughout. This is heightened by the excellent
script, which carefully conceals the central incident so we're never
quite sure who's telling the truth.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
A Separation retains its modest production roots and doesn't leap off the home theater screen on Blu-ray from Artificial Eye. Detail is the most notable attribute that rises above SD. It's hard to know what the original appearance of the film was like but in its favor the 1080P presentation supports the film. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. This Blu-ray is clean and the transfer doesn't restrict A Separation from conveying it's powerful universal themes. By modern blockbuster standards this is fairly tame visually but making a glossy eye-candy filled presentation was not the filmmaker's intention nor would it benefit the impact of the viewer. This Blu-ray does its job well and probably looks like the film did theatrically and is easily identifiable as higher resolution than DVD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The original Persian audio comes via a DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0 channel at 1212 kbps or a choice of linear PCM stereo. We can assume these modest options are more original - adhering to the film's lean production roots. Of course the lack of surround probably only benefits the bonding of the characters with no, demonstrative, artificially induced noise that might tend to 'plasticize' the aural presentation. It is clean and consistent - solid support for the film. There are optional English subtitles.NOTE: Screener was region FREE - final product will be region 'B'-locked!
Supplements offer a couple of subtitled interview pieces with director Asghar Farhadi totaling about 20-minutes and a separate interview with Leila Hatami for 8-minutes - both in PAL. There is also a trailer in HD.
November 8th, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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