Iranian drama "Nader and Simin: A Separation" won the Golden Bear for best picture at the Berlin film festival on Saturday, while its ensemble cast also picked up the best actor and actress prizes on a triumphant night.
Director Asghar Farhadi's portrayal of a marriage in crisis was firm favorite for the coveted award, and its victory was the first for an Iranian picture, Berlin organizers said, Hollywood Industry reports.
Farhadi's latest film arrived at a time when many thought it seemed impossible for Iranian filmmakers to express themselves in their own country. But with the movie's multilayered and intriguing tale, it succeeds in bringing today's Iranian society into focus in a way few of its predecessors have done.
At the heart of the story are Simin and Nader, an Iranian middle-class couple. When Nader refuses to leave Iran because of his father who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, Simin files for divorce. The couple's separation creates an emotional crisis for them and their teenage daughter.
In his acceptance speech Asghar Farhadi paid tribute to fellow Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi, who was unable to accept the festival's invitation to sit on the main jury after being sentenced to six years in jail and banned from making movies or travelling abroad for 20 years.
"I want to remind you of Jafar Panahi," Farhadi said. "I really think his problem will be solved, and I hope he will be the one standing here next year," according to Deutsche Welle.