Iran's rulers rarely acknowledge the country's much-lauded film industry, which hard-liners revile as a bastion of liberals and dissidents, and the Academy Awards weren't legally shown in Iran. But that didn't stop them from gloating over A Separation's win for Best Foreign Film—particularly its triumph over the Israeli film Footnote, the AP reports. State-run TV praised the film for "leaving behind" a film from the "Zionist regime."
The head of Iran's Cinematic Agency declared the Oscar win the "beginning of the collapse" of the Israeli influence that "beats the drum of war" in the US. The ironic part? Israeli audiences are flocking to see A Separation, with a comparatively strong 30,000 going to see it since the film opened there mid-month. Many are anxious to get a glimpse of the human side of the country they see as a deadly enemy. "It's very well acted, exceptionally well written and very moving," said one Israeli film critic.