The Salesman is Iran’s nomination for foreign language film and I quite liked. It is a relationship drama about how violence affects the relationship between our two leads, Rana and Emad. The couple moves to a new apartment, which was formerly occupied by a woman of ill repute – no one ever says prostitute, but that is what the woman was – and Rana is attacked. The story then follows how both Rana and Emad react to the attack and handle the other’s reaction.
The title is comes from the fact that the couple plays the lead roles in a production of Death of a Salesman. I haven’t seen or read the play, so I don’t know how significant it is and what extra levels it might add to the movie.
As I said, I quite liked this movie. The examination of how we react differently to the stress en emotional turmoil of a violent act is compelling and I love how the different reactions of Rana and Emad wasn’t presented as one is better than the other. The focus was on their relationship and how it suffered, because of their contrasting reactions and how in the end they seemed to come to terms with it, yet the event itself and the consequences of their actions following it still hung over their heads.
The worst of it might be over, but this is not a movie with that ends with a neatly tied bow and a happily ever after. Rana and Emad still have to come to terms with this and it will continue to affect them. I love that about this movie, it is a full story on its own, yet it continues after the final scene.
I’d happily recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys the study of humans and their reactions to disruption and violence. And while it is set in Iran, it does tell a universal story that is not bound by its culture.