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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Separation [Blu-ray]

 

(Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Asghar Farhadi

Video: Artificial Eye

 

Disc:

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!

Runtime: 2:02:58.579

Disc Size: 34,647,899,934 bytes

Feature Size: 31,966,379,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.40 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 21st, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• 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)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film located HERE

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.

The performances are superb, particularly Mooadi and Bayat, whose interaction leads directly to the court case. These are complex, multi-layered characters with complicated motivations for why they may or may not be telling the truth and the courtroom scenes are both powerfully emotional and extremely gripping as a result.

Excerpt from Matthew Turner at ViewLondon located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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!

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Aside from Kiarostami - I've ventured away from Iranian cinema over the past few years. I felt like it was temporarily 'in vogue' and it was wonderful to be exposed to so much - but the themes began to get repetitive and some efforts I saw seemed like 'festival pandering'. A Separation is a marvelous return to an impacting vérité style with excellent performances - this is a tremendous film experience. The Blu-ray is consistent in its transfer and gave me a decent presentation to really appreciate the film that I judge to be a total masterpiece. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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