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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Salesman’ - Variety

The new movie from Asghar Farhadi, the masterly Iranian director of 'A Separation' and 'The Past,' is another finely cut gem of neorealist suspense.

 

One of the many reasons that Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time — the quintessential filmmaker — is that his spirit and technique infuse the work of so many other directors (maybe all of them). He is, of course, the eternal god of anyone who has ever made a thriller. But he also hovers over those who could hardly be less “Hitchcockian.” A perfect example is the masterly Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi makes dramas of domestic discord that refuse to heighten anything they show you; they are steadfastly observant, unvarnished, specific, and real. Yet when you watch a Farhadi film like “A Separation” or “The Past” or his new one, “The Salesman,” you’re seduced, almost by a kind of invisible reverse trickery, into a situation of clear-eyed naturalism, except that you also start to realize you’re caught in a gathering storm, and it has everything to do with the shifting interior sands of the people onscreen. You’re caught up in something that can only be called suspense, and it’s galvanizing, but the suspense hinges purely on what’s going on in the characters’ hearts and minds.

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