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