Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Salesman’ combines film and theatre

Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti play the leads in Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman'

The latest film “The Salesman” from Iran’s renowned director Asghar Farhadi is a tense modern-day tale set in Tehran.

The film takes its inspiration from Arthur Miller’s legendary play, “Death of a Salesman” and is about a couple rehearsing a production of the play when they are forced to move house and encounter unforeseen events.

Speaking to film critic Roger Ebert recently Farhadi said his films were about how unexpected events change people’s lives.

“At the beginning of my films, the characters are usually in their normal situations. Then something hits them and they start to see another side of themselves that they didn’t know existed. It’s difficult to understand ourselves when we are in a moment of crisis. Just imagine that we are having this conversation in a car as we are heading out on a trip. Everything is going fine, and then somebody comes with a gun and threatens us. Then we are not ourselves. We become completely different people.”

Farhadi became a house-hold name when his masterpiece “A Separation” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. The director has continued garnering awards since.

The former theatre-maker’s films have been praised for their realistic portrayal of life in modern-day Iran and for presenting the contradictions and conflicts in society through the lives of common people.

“The most important thing for me is that my films look like documentaries. They have to feel like real life, not cinema. All of the actors have to collaborate in a way that makes their interactions feel real,” says Farhadi.

Although “The Salesman” lost out at the Golden Globes, it won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes last year and is tipped to be nominated for an Oscar.

The film has gone on limited release across the world.