The family drama won the event’sUSD60,000 Sydney Film Prize after competing against this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Tree of Life.

Sydney Film Prize looks for films that demonstrate “emotional power and resonance; are audacious, cutting-edge, courageous; and go beyond the usual treatment of the subject matter.”

Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige said on behalf of the official competition jury that they had been mindful of the key criteria for this prize, The Australian reported.

“In our final deliberations we found two very different films about the relationships between men and women came closest to fitting these criteria,” he said

He added that Nader and Simin: A Separation “looks beneath the surface of relations between men and women in Iran in a way that raises questions about law, freedom and feminine and masculine honor.”

Nader and Simin: A Separation recounts the story of an Iranian middle-class couple who are getting a divorce, while considering the future of their only child.

The film won the Golden Bear Award of the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival and the event’s Silver Bears for the entire male and female cast ensemble.

Farhadi received a USD 25,000 grant from the Motion Picture Association and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) for the script development of the drama which was assessed as “a beautiful human study of a very normal everyday life, with people in a region who are being challenged all the time by issues social, geographical and financial.”

The Hollywood Reporter has predicted the film will be among next year’s foreign language Oscars nominees.

Sacher Film, which belongs to Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti, has also acquired the rights to distribute the film in Italy and screen it in cinemas starting June 2011.

Nader and Simin, A Separation has been invited to take part in the ‘horizons’ section of the 2011 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The film is also scheduled to hit the screens in Germany beginning July 14 and on July 22 in Britain.

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