‘The Salesman’ won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at this years Oscars. Other than the obvious controversy of the night one of the more memorable moments was directors Asghar Farhadi’s absence. His protest was a powerful statement against discrimination. His decision not to attend the ceremony as a film-maker, and just as a human has to be admired. I was hoping that the film could be as admirable as its directors actions.
Going into a film knowing of its many accolades can be problematic. Expectations can dominate your viewing and dictate your enjoyment. It can be hard to tell if it is the expectations that shape your opinion of the film or if that’s just what you really think. The film starts fine, it meanders through some standard drama until the significant narrative moment occurs. I thought that before this and immediately after this moment the film was a little slow and it became slightly repetitive too. I found this to especially be the case when the film focused on the drama solely between the two main characters, married couple Emad & Rana. There interactions became increasingly frustrating and not that entertaining to watch. However it should be noted that these interactions did feel like an accurate portrayal of the trauma they were facing. Therefore this problem can’t be held against the film to harshly. Although I have to say the film became far more interesting when the main characters would share the screen with other supporting characters. Emad is a teacher and his scenes with his class were always a delight. Similarly Rana shares a scene with a young boy, the son of her friend, and this offered much more to audiences than scenes just with the leads.
All of the performances in ‘The Salesman’ are very good. There’s performances within performances here, due to the characters taking part in a production of ‘Death of a Salesman’. It’s impressive how the actors combine their performances to enhance the drama of the film. This drama certainly turns up a notch in the final act. This act was entertaining as it grips the audiences. It causes moral dilemmas amongst the characters and audiences. It’s fascinating watching how different characters react to what’s happening and even more interesting to see who, as a viewer, your allegiance lies with. Everytime that I thought this final act was going on too long it gave me a reason to think otherwise as it constantly draws you in more and more. The whole film is a deep study into trauma and this act is the culmination of a carefully written screenplay.
So whilst potentially overlong ‘The Salesman’ continually improves as it unfolds. The slower sections are arguably nessecary for the impact of the final act. However I do think some narrative elements could have been tightened up. Nonetheless though with strong performances and an involving narrative peaking in it’s last act this Oscar winning film becomes very much worth your attention.
Rating – 7/10
Question: Which of the foreign language film nominees did you want to win the Oscar?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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