The Salesman

"Excellent"

The Salesman Review


Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's masterful A Separation, explores situations specific to his culture while drawing out powerfully universal themes. It's a story of normal people whose everyday life takes a turn that pushes them to the breaking point, and as it unfolds the film explores issues of morality and forgiveness in ways that are unpredictable and riveting.

In Tehran, Emad and Rana (Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti) are forced to find a new place to live when construction work destabilises their apartment block. In a hurry and on a limited budget, they take a flat where the previous tenant hasn't quite moved out yet. And there are rumours about what she was up to there, which become more important when one of her gentleman callers visits while Rana is home alone. In the confusion, she is badly injured. Meanwhile, Emad and Rana are acting in an amateur stage production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. But the show is jeopardised by Rana's trauma and the fact that Emad is now distracted by trying to find the man responsible.

Every element of the film is beautifully observed, with telling details in each relationship that expand to reveal new things about the characters. Side roles are especially vivid, from Emad's best pal Babak (Babak Karimi) to the play's demanding-diva star (Mina Sadati) and her even livelier young son (Sam Valipour). And then there's the family of the interloper, a complex group of people who don't react in the expected ways. Each actor delivers a raw, natural performance, creating characters who are almost unnervingly easy to identify with. So even if the details of the assault itself are left vague, the reactions are powerfully vivid, especially as the story builds to a momentous confrontation.

All of this may be clearly set within the distinct customs of Iranian society, but the overriding feelings will resonate for any viewer. Rana is understandably reluctant to push things too far, while Emad of course needs to avenge his honour (and perhaps his wife's too). Everyone in this story violates the rules of behaviour in one way or another. Sometimes they get away with it, and sometimes there's unexpected fallout. What Farhadi is so good at exploring is how it isn't the big events that eat away at our souls and undermine our happy lives; it's the tiny decisions we make every day, the thoughtless lie or flare of anger. Yes, it's an important film for today's world.

Rich Cline



The Salesman

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 125 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th January 2017

Box Office USA: $1,415,945.00

Distributed by: Cohen Media Group

Production compaines: ARTE France Cinéma, Memento Films Production, Arte France Cinéma, Farhadi Film Production

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Producer: Asghar Farhadi, Alexandre Mallet-Guy

Starring: Shahab Hosseini as Emad Etesami, Taraneh Alidoosti as Rana Etesami, Babak Karimi as Babak, Mina Sadati as Sanam, Mehdi Koushki as Siavash, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini as Naser, Maral Bani Adam as Kati, Mojtaba Pirzadeh as Majid, Sam Valipour as Sadra, Shirin Aghakashi as Esmat, Emad Emami as Ali, Sahra Asadollahe as Mojgan, Ehteram Boroumand as Mrs. Shahnazari

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