7:30 PM, 7th July, 2017
Writer/director Asghar Farhadi has proven himself a master of thought-provoking, human dramas in recent years with The Past and Oscar-winner A Separation. His latest film, The Salesman, is on a slightly larger stage than his earlier films. But it is no less powerful an examination of human emotion.
Emad and Rana (Hosseini and Alidoosti) are a married couple, actors living in Tehran currently performing in the play “Death of a Salesman”. When their apartment becomes unsafe they are forced onto the street – luckily a friend of a friend has a vacant apartment, which turns out to be a good size, even though the previous occupant has left a substantial amount of their belongings behind. All seems to be going well until a case of mistaken identity leads to Rana being assaulted in their new home – leaving her fearful and paranoid, and sending the mild-mannered, calm and confident Emad into a spiral of anger and vengeance.
Previously Farhadi has shown us characters caught up in a mystery, examining how they react as the mystery unfolds. In The Salesman he instead resolves the mystery relatively early, with the film focused primarily on the emotional aftermath. But we’re not given the easy, Hollywood, good-guy-kills-everyone-to-raucous-cheers revenge that we’re used to seeing. This is a situation altogether more real, more gritty, where nothing is black and white and the purity of vengeance is nowhere to be found. There will be no triumphant, uplifting music and slow pan across the Iranian flag to cap off the experience.