8:00 PM, 14th July, 2012
This beautiful, moving film from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has already collected awards across the globe in London, Berlin, Los Angeles and Sydney and should not be missed. The titular separation relates to the marriage between Simin (Hatami), who wants to leave Iran to make a better life for her only daughter, and her husband Nader (Moadi), who thinks they should stay, especially since he must care for his father who suffers from Alzheimer's. What follows is a stunningly shot and meticulously crafted tale of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. The plot weaves through the lives of its characters giving the audience just enough detail for them to make their own conclusions but letting the nuanced performances reveal the truth behind the characters' motivations and actions.
By telling the story of one group of interconnected people in Iran, the film reveals universal truths about the larger society it represents - the microcosm revealing the macro. Yet, the film never isolates its international audience from the narrative as it tackles universal themes of familial ties, love and duty in an open and accessible way.
Considering the tripe masquerading as human drama that is regularly dredged up from Hollywood these days, it would be criminal not to see a film like this that truly understands and explores the complexities of human nature.
10:13 PM, 14th July, 2012
Acknowledged as the film that inspired Stephen King's novel "The Shining", Signs of Life is a film which touches upon the rationality of insanity. Set during the German occupation of Crete during World War II, the story revolves around a German paratrooper who was injured during his first mission and sent to oversee an old fort in the uneventful city of Kos. Accompanied by his young Greek wife and two other German soldiers, he is plagued by boredom and his own apparent uselessness. Finally, when one of them snaps - you understand.
Signs of Life portrays this boredom very effectively through content, pacing and script; and if you are willing and able to go with it, the pace of the film really helps you to understand the characters and get the most out of what is quite an interesting story.
A warning for those with ADHD tendencies, Herzog's distinctive slow pace may seem like torture if you are more into films stuffed full of action and adventure. For those with patience, the script is amazing, all of the actors perform flawlessly and the Greek vistas and music complete a great cinema experience.