The Salesman29 Jan 2017
A pivotal scene in the The Salesman shows the camera holding on a door left open. It reminded me of the windows we see in Elle, also left open, also portending violence.
The role of Iranian society, as in A Separation, is hard to avoid. A woman brought to a hospital after a violent incident is asked no questions. Neighbors and co-workers are at once highly involved in the protagonists’ lives and also keep their distance. Art is censored but is central to the main characters’ lives. Collective taxis create social cohesion but also social friction. A country bent on distancing itself from America but where artists cannot help but celebrate one of its best stories and playwrights.
Overall, this film is another in Farhadi’s growing list of understated, beautifully captured, literary and empathic films about contemporary Iranian life. A Separation remains one of my all time favorites. The Salesman probably doesn’t break that mark, but it is a commendable film about marriage, art, society and punishment.