The Salesman directed by Asghar Fahredi played at Burns Court for the Cineworld Film Fest on November 9th. I’m sure based on its quality it’ll get a normal run at most independent theaters and I highly recommend this taut tale.
I’m biased of course, having seen and enjoyed his films in two different states. A Separation I saw on an unfairly cruel cold Austin, Texas day. The good news was that the movie was fantastic and the theater adorable (and comfortable-leather recliners, but I digress). His other two films, The Past and About Elly, I saw in my former hometown of Rochester, NY (which is always cruel and cold, but I digress again).
So back to Fahredi’s tremendous writing and directing. He’s not one to care about his audience’s emotional comfort, caring more about making the viewers question, “what would I do?” In fact, after The Salesman, I heard some women disagreeing about what they would have done. Thought provoking movies are few and far between.
Let me get back to the topic of warmth, but this time not outdoor temps, but rather emotional and psychological. Dang are Iranian relationships ice cold. I understand pride and principles, but the lack of embrace and physical touch, might drive a woman like me, mad. I do understand, however, that witholding of that sense of security certainly adds tension to the story and is also somewhat of a cultural standard. It even made me think today, as I walked the Ringling Bridge, listening to a 90’s tune by Mariah Carey (Dream Lover), that perhaps our own country is getting less affectionate in the aughts and now teens, akin to middle schoolers who become aloof adolescents (my musical comparison being Beyonce’s Lemonade). We (women collectively) ‘ain’t askin’ for love any longer, we’re just demanding respect, which I question: do we have to have to give up emotional embrace to achieve such respect?
I wanted to see The Salesman originally because I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Arthur Miller’s play. I remember an epiphany I once had in teaching Drama some years ago, that I finally understood why the play is an iconic father/son psycho drama and not just a depressing saga. Later, after hearing an NPR interview that Philip Seymor Hoffman gave regarding his stint as Willy Loman on Broadway, I wondered if he was fortelling his own demise, in how much inadequacy PSH connected to in his own self, equal to, or even more so, than the Willy Loman experience.
How this connects to the film is still something I’m wrapping my head around. Did the husband in the film feel inadequate in what revenge he sought or better to my previous comment on affection, did he feel so incapable of consoling his emotionally traumatized wife that that equaled inadequacy. I will say no more in keeping with my ‘no spoilers’ promise. But go see The Salesman and comment back. The film is worthy of discussion and thought!