What a sad story. At a time when armed conflict between Iran and Israel is increasingly likely, the reality remains that neither people know much about the other. This article is a window into that (via Associated Press):
Israeli newspapers warn daily of the Iranian nuclear threat, but for the past week and a half, Israelis filmgoers have packed movie theaters to watch a drama set in Tehran.
“A Separation,” a domestic drama directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi, bested an Israeli rival and three others on Sunday 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.”
Rina Brick, 70, said she was surprised by the humaneness of the Iranian bureaucrats portrayed in the film.
“Our image of how Iran works is less democratic than we see here,” she said. “The judge, the police, everyone behaves as if they are in a Western country.”
Rivka Cohen left Iran at age 15. Now 78, Cohen said she was struck by Tehran’s modernity, which jarred with the image of black-clad women and religious conservatism that has become iconic of Iran.
“I was surprised by the way people lived in their houses,” Cohen said. “Everyone had a fridge and a washing machine.”