A Separation: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
by Judith A. Yanof, MD
A Separation is the 2011 award-winning film by Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. Set in modern-day Tehran, the film is about an uppermiddle class couple who are separating after 14 years of marriage. The filmmaker gives a nuanced portrayal of the complex dynamics in this family and, in particular, how the struggles of the adults painfully affect their 11-year old daughter, Termeh. A Separation is not formally told through the eyes of the child, however, the film’s action and visual impact create in the audience a set of intense emotional reactions which powerfully convey Termeh’s internal upheaval.
The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 73:1, 172-181, 2020.
About the Author
Judith A. Yanof, MD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst and Child Supervisor at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She has written numerous articles on several different aspects of child analysis, including gender, development, transference, termination, and play. In 2012, BPSI awarded her the Arthur Kravitz Award for Community Action and Humanitarian Contributions for her generous and creative efforts to provide programs for early childhood education workers, for consultative work for disadvantaged children and families, and for her work in psychoanalysis and film. For many years she has been an active participant in BPSI’s community program, Off the Couch, and has written many film essays. Click here to watch an interview with Dr. Yanof, recorded in the BPSI library in March, 2019.
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