Ashdoc's movie review---The salesman ( Iranian film )

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Ashdoc's movie review---The salesman ( Iranian film )

Post by ashdoc on Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:25 pm

This Iranian film is currently being screened in India , as it was the winner of an oscar in the best foreign film category . It is in the farsi language I guess , but I saw the movie with english subtitles . One of the reasons for me seeing this film was the insight I would get into the islamic republic of Iran , which since the islamic revolution has become a most interesting place---to watch on film I mean . 

Aah , so how is the society of Iran ? The first thing that strikes you is , how goodlooking the people of Iran are . They are so proud of their looks that Iran has a politically incorrect name---Iran means 'Aryan' in the farsi language . The term was inspired by Hitler , who had endorsed the persian peoples aryan origins . Even the cats ( persian cats ) are goodlooking , though I did not see any dogs---they are considered unclean in islam . 

So how are the women ? Their hair is partially covered by the scarf which they have to wear since the islamic revolution . But otherwise can wear western clothes , though they have to cover major part of the body . Even the men were wearing full clothes , largely because iranian capital city Tehran ( which is the location of the film's happenings ) is a cold place . But these were modern city women . What is the condition of women in the countryside ? That is not shown . 

The people still greet each other 'khuda hafiz' while leaving instead of the 'Allah hafiz' that is common among the muslims of the Indian subcontinent ever since Pakistani dictator Zia ul Haq changed the wording . I could catch a few words from my knowledge of urdu language , which has words of farsi---'azizi' means 'dear' . 

So onto the movie . Emad ( Shahab Hosseini ) and Rana ( Taraneh Alidoosti ) are a married couple who act in the theatre . Emad works as a teacher in a school where he is allowed to reach only boys ; girls have separate school because the islamic republic forbids co education . The schoolboys make fun of Emad behind his back and jokingly call him salesman because he and Rana act in a production of 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller . So a play from what Iran calls the 'great satan' ( America ) is allowed to be enacted by authorities , eh ? 

The couple is forced to leave their apartment which is collapsing , and have to move in another arranged by a fellow actor called Babak . They move in without knowing that it's former owner was a prostitute . One day while she is alone , Rana is assaulted by a former client of the sex worker . Even though the two do not talk about it openly at first , the couple both know that the assault is sexual . Here their asianness comes in to play . We are not talking of a happening in the west ; it is the backward east we are talking about . And in the east a woman's honour will be tarnished if the matter of sexual assault becomes public knowledge . So even though the neighbours know about it , the couple does not go to the police . 

The first half of the movie is about the effect of the grave event on the couple's marriage . Rana is so shaken that she cannot stay alone , and even cannot go to the toilet without her husband standing outside . She breaks down while the play is being enacted and does not allow even her husband to touch her at night . Emad insults Babak who had given them the apartment while on stage enacting a play , because he blames Babak for guiding them towards such a place . 

The second half is dominated by the asiatic male's need for revenge for this insult on his family's honour , though Emad is shown to be a relatively civilised man . So he traces the person who did the assault . To be honest his revenge is milder than what I have seen in Bollywood films . But on the screen it seems terrible because of the way it has been brilliantly filmed . The movie really keeps you on tenterhooks as to the fate of the accused . And that is the triumph of the director , I feel . 

So how is the revenge taken ? What happens to the couple ? The movie is worth watching for the answers . Acting is good and cinematography is good too . Tehran , which forms the backdrop for the happenings does not seem to be a rich city and has crumbling infrastructure inspite of all of Iran's oil because Iran suffers from sanctions forced by the west . Deservedly so , I suppose . 

Verdict---Good . 

Three and a half stars .


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