Tag: Arthur Miller

Fruitvale Station/Arthur Miller


The tragic night is a condition of life, a condition in which the human personality is able to flower and realize itself. The wrong is the condition which suppresses man, perverts the flowing out of his love and creative instinct. Tragedy enlightens and it must, in that it points the heroic finger at the enemy of man’s freedom. The thrust for freedom is the quality in tragedy which exalts.

The revolutionary questioning of the stable environment is what terrifies. In no way is the common man debarred from such thoughts or such actions.

Arthur Miller, “Tragedy of the Common Man”


A Separation

Finally had a chance to watch “A Separation” by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.

What I loved about this film was its classical, purist form. I’m not surprised to read that Farhadi has a background in theatre – he has both a B.A. in theatre and a Masters in theatre direction. The storytelling has all the power and majesty of Arthur Miller: perfectly constructed and rich in telling details.

It reminds me of my favorite realist plays because it relies on words. Words to speak the truth, words to hide and dodge. In this sense, its an inspiring film for any playwright or screenwriter interested in drama or thriller as a genre. It’s a reminder that you can create incredible conflict out of basic human needs and actions – and not necessarily with a lot of money.

Of course I watch the characters through my own lens as an American. Much of the film bounces back and forth between domestic settings and the offices of the Iranian justice system. What I found myself doing was applying my own sense of fairness, my own instincts towards justice, to the characters. I also found myself “aware” I was doing this while watching the movie.

My experience of watching the movie was that it was a constant transaction – between my own expectations of behavior versus what I was seeing… all within the context of my outsider status. If I was Iranian, or someone with experiences closer to one of the characters, perhaps I would come away from the movie with very different experience. But I’m not sure.

As humans on this planet most of us carry with us an powerful inborn sense of justice – which is then molded and shaped as we grow up and learn the rules of our culture. This sense of justice, of right and wrong, is the true subject of “A Separation”.

A sense of justice that  unites us and crosses borders. That unites Farhadi and Miller as the subject of their work. That unites their characters in a search for the truth, honor  and dignity. And less suffering, the highest ambition of life and art.