The Salesman

Willy (and Linda) Loman try to stay alive in contemporary Tehran

Budgetary considerations no doubt play a part, but director Asghar Farhadi has a way of making domestic dramas that play out in apartments endlessly compelling. But his newest, The Salesman, opens up its locations considerably from his homebound previous effort, The Past. Emad (Shahab Hosseini) is a schoolteacher in Tehran, where he and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti, familiar from Farhadi’s films About Elly and Fireworks Wednesday) are also actors cast as Willy and Linda Loman in a local production of Death of a Salesman. After they move into an apartment recommended by a fellow member of the cast — who did not inform them the former occupant was a woman euphemistically referred to as “promiscuous” — Rana is attacked by an intruder she unknowingly lets into the building. Emad becomes determined to find her assailant, whether Rana wants him to or not, and he uncovers a rather complex mystery along the way. Set 10 years after 2005’s Fireworks Wednesday, it’s fascinating to see how much the technology we tend to associate with Western culture has entered daily Tehran life: Cellphones are ubiquitous, and the ownership of one by a student of Emad’s is a plot point. Unfortunately, women are still blamed for the bad things that happen to them, so our cultures have that in common, too.

The Salesman
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.

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