Asghar Farhadi – Forushande AKA The Salesman (2016)

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Quote:
One of the many reasons that Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time — the quintessential filmmaker — is that his spirit and technique infuse the work of so many other directors (maybe all of them). He is, of course, the eternal god of anyone who has ever made a thriller. But he also hovers over those who could hardly be less “Hitchcockian.” A perfect example is the masterly Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi makes dramas of domestic discord that refuse to heighten anything they show you; they are steadfastly observant, unvarnished, specific and real. Yet when we watch a Farhadi film like “A Separation” or “The Past,” or his new one, “The Salesman,” we’re seduced, almost by a kind of invisible reverse trickery, into a situation of clear-eyed naturalism, except that they also start to realize we’re caught in a gathering storm, and it has everything to do with the shifting interior sands of the people onscreen. We’re caught up in something that can only be called suspense, and it’s galvanizing, but the suspense hinges purely on what’s going on in the characters’ hearts and minds. Continue reading

Asghar Farhadi – Forushande AKA The Salesman (2016)

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The Salesman tells the story of a young couple Emad and Rana who play the lead roles in a local rendition of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Meanwhile, their personal relationship takes a hit after moving into a house that was previously inhabited by a woman who allegedly pursued a career in prostitution. Continue reading

Asghar Farhadi – Darbareye Elly AKA About Elly (2009)

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About Elly, Iranian director Asgher Farhadi’s fourth feature, is a tightly-knit, intense drama about a sunny story gone tragic. Winner of the Best Director award at the Berlinale this year, the film has two distinct moods: light-hearted and good-humoured for the first 45 minutes, sombre and tense for the rest.

Three young couples, a handful of children, Elly (the nursery school teacher of one of the kids) and Ahmad (a young friend returned from Germany following an unhappy marriage and a divorce from his German wife and vacationing in Iran for ten days) take a holiday on the Caspian Sea. They are carefree, raucous, determined to live it up. But one of the women – Sepideh – has a hidden agenda, an inoffensive one on the face of it: she wants to bring pretty Elly and Ahmad together. Continue reading

Asghar Farhadi – Jodaeiye Nader az Simin aka A Separation (2011)

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THE GUARDIAN review (contains plot details):

An unhappily married couple break up in this complex, painful, fascinating Iranian drama by writer-director Asghar Farhadi, with explosive results that expose a network of personal and social faultlines. A Separation is a portrait of a fractured relationship and an examination of theocracy, domestic rule and the politics of sex and class – and it reveals a terrible, pervasive sadness that seems to well up through the asphalt and the brickwork. In its depiction of national alienation in Iran, it’s comparable to the work of Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. But there is a distinct western strand. The film shows a middle-class household under siege from an angry outsider; there are semi-unsolved mysteries, angry confrontations and family burdens: an ageing parent and two children from warring camps appearing to make friends. All these things surely show the influence of Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Hidden. Farhadi, like Haneke, takes a scalpel to his bourgeois homeland. Continue reading