The Salesman

Out Now On-Demand

Relationship drama from acclaimed filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (The Past, A Separation) about a couple who disintegrate during their performance of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

The film won Best Actor (Shahab Hosseini) and Best Screenplay at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. It also won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards, but Farhadi did not attend the ceremony due to President Donald Trump's ban on travellers from seven Muslim countries. Instead, a statement written by Farhadi was read out by businesswoman Anousheh Ansari - the first Iranian to go to space.

Trailers

Awards

Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards 2017; Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Directed by

Written by

Drama, Thriller, World Cinema, Festival & Independent

125mins

Rating: M Adult themes

Persian with English subtitles

Iran, France,

The Salesman gets underway with an unsettling seismic event. Is it an earthquake or a bomb? The apartment building where married couple Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) live has become unstable and they scramble to flee, stopping only to help a disabled neighbour. These are good people, and as we know from director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) bad things can most certainly happen to the good.

The cracks on the wall of the couple’s apartment provide the metaphor for what’s to come, and right to the last frame Farhadi holds the tension so tight you wonder if you might crack yourself.

Things are familiar but also different in Iran. For one thing, the staging of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has to be approved by Government censors and edited accordingly. The grim American classic is the play within this film, and is being performed by the husband and wife protagonists, whose own lives soon become just as tragic and filled with impotent rage. In the midst of the production they find themselves forced into a shabby apartment owned by a sugar daddy to the theatre and previously tenanted by a mysterious woman in the midst of her own collapsing life. Moral questions are the director's key obsession here, that and an understanding of the geography of that great land known as the ‘grey area’. So it’s a challenging watch, but also a thrilling whodunnit, and a gut wrenching fable, albeit without a clear lesson. What is revealed is why Farhadi keeps winning Oscars.

It occurred to me that this will resonate more for those with knowledge of the Persian culture, but there’s plenty of pleasure in being a tourist too. Tehran is familiar and exotic in equal measure. Universality is not Farhadi’s overriding goal, and that’s a good thing. It keeps things real and the viewer on their toes.

Guardian (UK)

press

The Salesman is a well-crafted, valuable drama.

Hollywood Reporter

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The final punches are delivered in a knock-out finale that leaves the viewer tense and breathless.

Telegraph (UK)

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On this present occasion, Farhadi may hardly be reinventing himself, but his old tools serve him just fine.

Variety (USA)

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Every shot is in place, every line leading to an outcome that feels quietly up for grabs.

FilmInk (Australia)

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This taut Iranian thriller recalls the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol, and Brian De Palma.

New York Times

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With exquisite patience and attention to detail, Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director, builds a solid and suspenseful plot out of ordinary incidents, and packs it with rich and resonant ideas.

Los Angeles Times

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If the setup is creaky, the payoff, when it arrives, is a thing to behold.

Sydney Morning Herald

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Farhadi has created that sense of common ground and shared human experience.

NZ Herald (Francesca Rudkin)

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Isn't as stunning as A Separation, but it's still a class act.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

press

One of the most intriguing and thought-provoking movies you are likely to see this year.
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See this movie!

The main reason I like foreign movies is to learn about different people, their views and different cultures. They are also often more unpredictable than the typical American movie. I preferred "The Separation" but "The Salesman" is also very good. The ending was a bit strange (I wanted it to keep going lol) but this movie is a must see. It also makes you appreciate living in little old NZ (notice how the average person lives in Iran, their apartments and Woman don't generally have careers/other opportunites). Recommended and good acting.