Friday, April 14, 2017
Asghar Farhadi's Salesman, an understated complex movie that fails to come to terms with its own ccomplexity
The film is a tightly scripted one, and it shows the fraught life of near-insignificance of Emad. Miller's Death of a Salesman turns out to be some kind of a sounding board for Emad's own life. It might appear to be an over-interpretation to see any kind of connection between the play in the film and the life of the film's protagonists. But to see no connection between the two makes the film merely tawdry tale.
But in spite of the connections, the character of Emad remains fairly diminutive in moral terms.
The movie could however be seen as a small episode in the life of a couple, which could have taken a serious turn. The ending is open-ended. We do now know whether the old man dies, whether Rana walks out on Emad as she threatens to do if Emad were to reveal the old man's misdemeanour to his family. What is the state of Emad's mind after he humiliates, and quite nearly kills, the old man who stalks his wife? Asghar Farhadi keeps it open.
The film tries to be a morality play, and the director beats around the bush to make, and even not to make, the point. On this score he succeeds. The matter-of-fact delineation raises expectations without fulfilling them. The director is reluctant to make the connections, to make the big point. For this viewer, the aesthetic and moral teaser is the failure of the movie because it leaves the characters in the movie hanging, except for Rana when she threatens to walk out, and the family of the old man who reveal their unquestioning faith in the goodness of Emad and Rana, and that of the old man as well.
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