THE SALESMAN

Iran, 2016 (MIFF 2016, Headliners)

Director: Asghar Farhadi

"Less about a separation than a sundering, about a splinter that opens up a chasm in a marriage, that in turn exposes a gulf in Iranian society … It is as compelling as anything Farhadi has ever made." – The Playlist

The latest film from virtuoso Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (The Past, MIFF 2013; A Separation, MIFF 2011) opens in the thick of catastrophe. A couple, Emad and Rana, are forced to evacuate their collapsing apartment building in Tehran. One day in the couple's new home, Rana is violently injured by an intruder. After the attack, a wall forms between the two as Rana attempts to navigate her conflicting emotions of fear and defensiveness and Emad longs to be Rana's white knight and wreak revenge on her assailant.

Farhadi keeps audiences guessing right until the finale of this neo-realist suspense drama, using Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman as a reference point. In the film, Emad and Rana are playing Willy and Linda Loman in a local production of the play, and as The Salesman progresses, the parallels between the couple's real life and their theatre roles become more and more apparent. Winner of the Cannes Best Actor (for Shahab Hosseini as Emad) and Best Screenplay awards, The Salesman is a characteristically assured work of observational minutiae and emotional complexity.

"Farhadi has fashioned a dramatic critique of what he portrays as the Iranian male gaze: a gaze of molten judgement and anger. As a filmmaker though, his gaze is true." – Variety


See also...

A SEPARATION

Sweeping the Berlinale awards with wins for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, A Separation is one of most engrossing films of the year. ... A middle-class Iranian couple, already in the midst of... More »

ABOUT ELLY

“A seamless piece of ensemble filmmaking.” - Tribeca Film Festival jury ... From within the straightjacket of a highly controlled film industry, Iranian visionary Asghar Farhadi (The Beautiful City, F... More »

PAST, The

"An intricate and often brilliant drama, with restrained and intelligent performances; there is an elegantly patterned mosaic of detail, unexpected plot turns, suspenseful twists and revelations." - T... More »

THINGS TO COME

"Life-affirming … Things to Come signals a young filmmaker's ascent to true greatness, although Hansen-Løve's standing as one of France's most naturally gifted filmmakers is confirmed long before the ... More »

THE UNKNOWN GIRL

"Poignant … a cinematic universe of micro-portraiture defined by its dramatic restraint and integrity, compassionate insight and psychological credibility." – Hollywood Reporter ... Two-time Cannes ... More »

PATERSON

"This is a wondrously tender, witty and delicate chronicle of a week in the mostly unremarkable life." – Sight & Sound ... In the New Jersey town of Paterson, a man by the name of Paterson (Adam Drive... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director