The Salesman (2016), a film by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, won the 89th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017. It tells the story of Rana and Emad, a childless married couple who are both actors and part of a theatre company performing Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman.’
Following a mishap, a friend and fellow performer helps the duo get to a place that has recently been vacated. The previous tenant has left behind a room full of personal belongings in their room.
One day, Rana is assaulted by an intruder while alone at the home. She is reluctant to report the incident to the authorities since she was traumatised by it but Emad feels compelled to seek justice.
Although she can’t be at home alone, she won’t call the cops. More than her, Emad is the one who breaks more deeply. He becomes obsessed with finding the man. The friendship slowly disappears due to his obsession. Events snowballs into a huge issue leading them to drift apart from each other. And the aftermath of this becomes inevitable. Their relationship is impacted and regular behaviour is completely altered as a result of the traumatic experience.
The director pays close attention to human emotions as the couple goes through a difficult time in the movie The Salesman. He gives his characters room to reflect, consider, and battle with their inner selves. The themes of love, friendship, trust, vengeance, honour and loyalty, violence against women in patriarchal societies, middle-class family struggles, the difficulties of marriage and forgiveness are expressed in detail throughout the film.
Without Shabab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti’s stunning performances in their respective roles, the movie probably wouldn’t have worked. It is also fascinating to know that the actors perform brilliantly in almost all of the scenes, which are either shot in a single take or with few cuts and no background music.
Even if the film’s realistic behaviour makes for a heartbreaking ending, the disappointment of witnessing a family losing itself is balanced by the realism portrayed in the story.
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