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The Salesman  : Selling Changing Equations
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Friday, March 31, 2017
Asghar Farhadi
Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi, Farid Sailadi Hooseini, Mina Sadati

It’s a chaotic start with a condemned building that must be evacuated. Among the many are compatible and much-in-love couple Rana and Emad who’re theatre people.


Theatre has a life of its own and life has its own theatre.


Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi who went home with an Oscar for The Salesman juxtaposes real life with the staging of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman and the outcome is unexpected.


Despite the unhurried pace at which it moves, Farhadi’s cinema sneaks up on you to make an impactful connect. There’s a bit of disturbing mystery when the suddenly roofless couple takes a friend’s offer to rent a nice apartment where the previous tenant’s shadow lingers. She’s only a whimsical voice over the phone who won’t turn up to collect the belongings she’s left behind. And when she who has moved away has a visitor, it upturns Rana’s life. In the process Emad’s too as he wants to protect his wife.


What Farhadi leaves unsaid says a lot. He never really tells Emad or the viewer what really happened to Rana that devastated her so much. Yet, the fact that the visitor left money on a shelf before going away has its own interpretations.


What Farhadi does say is stark. Rana’s attempts to go back to normalcy, Emad’s efforts to do what’s right, go to the police, try to track down the visitor, react to the cash he’s left behind. Above all, Emad’s and Rana’s polarised reactions to the visitor when his identity is revealed and the effect it has on their own relationship.  These are definitely not standard issue situations or reactions and that’s where Asghar Farhadi’s mastery over his craft unspools.


Going backstage with the theatre people has its own heartwarming greenroom moments.A child who accompanies his actress mother to rehearsals and takes a bow along with her.The actress giving her cues from backstage without missing a beat even as she has a whispered conversation with her colleague.That’s how the theatre world functions.


For a film that talks to your mind, The Salesman gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author



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