“A Separation” Inspires Wacky Conspiracy Theories

“A Separation” Inspires Wacky Conspiracy Theories
He sad, she sad: Leila Hatami and Peyman Maadi as a troubled couple in "A Separation."
(© 2011 - Sony Pictures Classics)

Like many Americans, we soiled ourselves just a little when we read that U.S. intelligence was officially concerned about Iran attacking us on our own soil. Then again, we weren’t totally surprised. What we didn’t see coming was the possibility that “A Separation” — the classy Iranian family drama that won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Film and is now up for a couple of Oscars — might be some sort of allegory in support of Iran’s regime. And really, it pretty obviously is not. But the Daily Beast’s Omid Memarian found someone putting this novel hypothesis forward:

Houshang Asadi, who was editor in chief of the popular Gozaresh-e Film (The Film Report) magazine in Tehran, considers A Separation a political film; one that supports Iran's religious regime.

"Asghar Farhadi's film opposes the Iranian middle class; the character representing the middle-class symbolism confronts the character representing the lower-class symbolism and is overpowered by the latter's values,” Asadi told The Daily Beast. 
“The middle class is the Green Movement, Iran's platform for freedom, individuality, and civil society. The regime mobilized the lower classes against the middle class and brought them to the field.”

“Asghar Farhadi's latest film sees the moral victory of lower classes over the Iranian middle class, continuing his positioning against the middle class, and this is why I consider Farhadi's cinema ideological and in the service of the Iranian government.”

(When, in an earlier post, we quoted Iran’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance as saying, “Wise judgment has put this movie on the podium of the chosen ones,” we just figured he was looking for the most awesomely grandiose way to say that “A Separation” probably deserves a little recognition.)

Meanwhile, Memarian finds another wacky Iranian — Masoud Dehnamaki, a filmmaker who actually likes the regime, and whose “Ekhrajiha” was overshadowed by “A Separation” — to say that the U.S. government probably influences Oscar picks: “Especially in the foreign films category, yes, it does have a role.”

Which one of these incredibly stupid competing theories is correct? (Memarian, by the way, doesn’t indulge the theories — just cites them in his round up of reactions to the movie’s reception.) Well, we noted before that in his Globe acceptance speech, the director of “A Separation,” Asghar Farhadi, was careful not to criticize Iran’s regime. Interesting. And that Obamoscars idea? It seems obvious that only the American government could get behind a nonsense, 9/11-exploiting fantasy like “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (up for Best Picture). (We haven’t actually seen “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” — nor have we read the book — but that’s because they’re both so obviously terrible.)

Assuming Farhadi is in fact pro-regime, and that the U.S. has conspired to make sure his film would reach the Academy Awards, there’s only one conclusion to be reached: That our intelligence services have Farhadi pegged, and intend to draw him into accepting an Oscar so they can have Kanye West humiliate him on stage. World politics: So complicated.