Israelis flock to see film produced by arch-foe, Iran

Daniella Cheslow in First Post:

Separation-actorsIsraeli newspapers warn daily of the Iranian nuclear threat, but for the past week-and-a-half, Israeli filmgoers have packed movie theatres to watch a drama set in Tehran.

A Separation, a domestic drama directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi, bested an Israeli rival and three others to win the award for best foreign film.

Israelis were rooting hard for their own Oscar contender, Joseph Cedar’s Footnote, a Talmudic scholar saga. But their interest in A Separation was piqued by the rare glimpse it offered into the living rooms of a country they regard as a threat to their very survival.

“It’s very well acted, exceptionally well-written and very moving,” said Yair Raveh, film critic for Israel’s leading entertainment magazine, Pnai Plus. “Ultimately you don’t think about nuclear bombs or dictators threatening world peace. You see them driving cars and going to movies and they look exactly like us.”

Israel, like the West, accuses Iran of using its nuclear programme as a cover to build bombs, and is afraid they would be turned against the Jewish state. Tehran insists it is producing energy, not weapons.

A Separation takes viewers far away from the nuclear showdown, chronicling the drama of an Iranian woman who wants to divorce her husband because he refuses to move abroad with her, preferring to stay behind to tend to his ailing father.

More here.