Separation Movies
2 Nov 2013
A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)

Director: Asghar Farhadi (2012, Persian, 123 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (99%), IMDB (8.4), Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: city life, depressing, family, intense, separation.

Summary: An intense family drama that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2012. The story involves two families. The first family is a middle class couple with an 11-year old daughter. The husband's father lives with them. He has Alzheimer's. The second family is a poor family with a 5-year old daughter. Both families have troubles of their own, a lot of which is due to the strong personalities of the two husbands. Acting is great. Character development is awesome. The story is gripping. It kept me engaged throughout. An Amazon review aptly puts it, "The only film where people watch the end credits with bated breath!" :)

After watching the movie, I read the story at Wikipedia and understood a few moments in the movie better.


Scenes From A Marriage (Scener Ur Ett Äktenskap)

Director: Ingrid Bergman (1974, Swedish, 283 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (94%), IMDB (8.3), Wikipedia, Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Watch online: YouTube, Hulu.

Similar movies: intense, separation.

Summary: This was the first movie by Bergman that I watched. I really liked it.

The movie narrates the story of a loving couple as their 'perfect marriage' of ten years with two kids disintegrates. The movie is in six parts. It was originally a TV series with six episodes. Each episode showcases the relationship at different points of time, which are several weeks to several years apart.

Many marriages, especially traditional Indian marriages, continue out of a sense of duty and respect for tradition. It is not mutual love or satisfaction that binds the couple together. "Scenes From a Marriage" is the opposite: it shows how a mature Swedish couple continues to love each other even though their marriage disintegrates. The couple keeps in touch for several years thereafter and their mutual fondness only increases, even though both have moved on. As the movie progresses, the man learns of his limitations. The woman goes through self introspection and learns how she was brought up, how her parents shaped her behavior and how her behavior impacted her marriage. She changes herself slowly - the breakup actually emancipates her.

The movie has insights into human behavior, especially in close quarters. There are only two characters! Most scenes are closeups. Dialogues are intense. Wouldn't such a movie be hard to watch? Yes. But the dialogues, storyline and acting in "Scenes From A Marriage" are riveting. Bergman stays away from melodrama. His approach is humanistic and he generates compassion for both characters as they come to terms with their situation and make peace with each other.


Sita Sings the Blues

Director: Nina Paley (2008, English, 82 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (100%), IMDB (7.6), Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: anime, separation.

Summary: Yet to write.


Ocean Waves (Umi ga kikoeru)

Director: Tomomi Mochizuki (1993, Japanese, 72 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (N/A), IMDB (7.0), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Similar movies: anime, romance, separation.

Summary: A lovely movie with a deceptively simple story. Critics call this an underrated movie from Studio Ghibli. Never dubbed in English; relatively unknown in the West. I loved watching it.

Two friends are attracted to the same girl who just got transferred to their school. One friend realizes quickly about his attraction, the other does not. The girl is pretty, excels in academics, is outspoken but rude. She consciously stays away from any social interaction. She has hardly a friend. Slowly, it emerges that her mom has moved to a new city; her parents are getting separated. She loves both parents and is conflicted. For example, when it is time to graduate, she starts applying to colleges in both cities.


Hotarubi no Mori e

Director: Takahiro Ômori (2011, Japanese, 45 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (N/A), IMDB (7.7), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube, WatchAnimeMovie.

Similar movies: anime, romance, separation.

Summary: A touching story of friendship between Hotaru and Gin. At the age of six, Hotaru is lost in a forest near her grandfather's home in the countryside. She is rescued by Gin, a forest spirit that never ages. He looks like a young man and almost always wears a mask. The twist in the plot: if Gin ever touches a human, it will cause him to disappear forever. Hotaru returns every summer to meet Gin, who eagerly awaits her return. As Hotaru grows into a young woman, their friendship becomes romantic and limitations emerge. For example, she wants to "glomp" Gin but can't. Overall, a watchable movie showcasing romance with a twist. Background music is good.

I discovered this movie at Anime Movie Guide, which reviews all Japanese anime movies worth watching.



Director: S S Gulzar (1987, Hindi, 137 mins)

Reviews: IMDB (7.8), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube, YouTube, YouTube, YouTube.

Similar movies: separation.

Summary: Yet to write.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Director: Michel Gondry (2004, English, 108 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (93%), IMDB (8.4), Wikipedia, Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Similar movies: quirky, romance, separation.

Summary: An intriguing movie that explores selective erasure of memories. Storyline: To ease his pain, a heartbroken guy decides to undergo an operation to permanently erase all memories of his beloved. While the operation is in progress, he starts having second thoughts. He realizes that many moments being erased were really pleasant and he doesn't want to lose them.

A memorable quote from the movie:

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd"

The above lines are from a poem 'From Eloise to Abelard' by Alexander Pope. Explained very well here. Cut n paste from the article:

The first line states that an innocent pure woman is a happy one.

The second line is reinforcing the first, stating that the woman's happiness is due to forgetting about the world's woes, and being forgotten by the world. In other words, she neither worries about the world, nor does the world worry about her. She has forgotten, and has been forgotten.

The third line is again referencing forgetfulness, stating that a mind unclouded or spotted by memory is in eternal brightness, or sunshine.

The fourth line states that her every prayer has been accepted (her prayer is for forgetfulness), and that she's given up all claims on any wishes she might have, save to forget.

In short, she is happy only because she has prayed for and received the gift of forgetting everything she's been concerned about. There is an old adage that ignorance is bliss, and such is the case for this woman.

Incidentally, the words may come from the movie, but they are originally from a poem by Alexander Pope titled Eloisa to Abelard."


The Lunchbox (Dabba)

Director: Ritesh Batra (2013, Hindi, 104 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (94%), IMDB (8.0), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Similar movies: city life, loneliness, old age, romance, separation.

Summary: Nicely done! A good review at Boston Globe.


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