When it comes to simultaneously challenging and entertaining their audience, few do it better than writer/director Asghar Farhadi. His dramas unravel like thrillers, building tension as characters bash against personal and cultural problems that have no honorable solution. His most famous film is arguably his masterpiece, 2011’s A Separation, but that’s just the delicious center of a three film hot streak that also includes About Elly and The Past.
The Salesman is his attempt to make it a four-peat, taking the story of a traumatizing encounter and blending it with themes from the play Death of a Salesman. The characters are, in fact, staging the play within the film, and if that seems too on the nose for you, rest assured that the parallels aren’t shoved down your throat. Farhadi is too subtle a writer for that, and the play is there as much to drive the narrative and provide comedic relief (what can and cannot be shown in Tehran leads to some interesting compromises) as it is to hint at theme.
As one of the more internationally marketable Iranian filmmakers, Farhadi’s complex portrayals of everyday life in Iran provide welcome glimpses of the politically isolated country. Audiences almost had to wait longer for another film set in his home country, as Farhadi was simultaneously developing a Spanish film with Penélope Cruz. After filming his previous movie in France, Farhadi felt drawn back to Iran and moved forward with The Salesman.
Praise for the film has been steadily accumulated during its festival run, most notably winning Best Screenplay for Farhadi and Best Actor for Shahab Hosseini at the Cannes Film Festival. The Salesman also marks the fourth time that Farhadi’s films have been submitted by Iran for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
The Salesman is directed by Asghar Farhadi and stars Shahab Hosseini and Raraneh Alidoosti. It will be released in the U.S. on January 27th, 2017 and in the U.K. on March 17th, 2017. For international release dates, click here.
Are you looking forward to another film from Farhadi? Let us know in the comments!
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