Forushande [The Salesman] (2016)

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Taraneh AlidoostiShahab HosseiniBabak KarimiMina SadatiMojtaba PirzadehFarid Sajjadi Hosseini
Seen on: 25.4.2017

CN: rape, assault

Ranaa (Taraneh Alidoosti) and Emad (Shahab Hosseini) are not only a couple, they also work together on a play – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. When they have to move house, they move into an apartment a friend of theirs had rented out, but needs new tenants for. Ranaa and Emad move in, despite being a little weirded out by finding the previous tenant’s stuff still in the apartment. Then Ranaa spends the night in the apartment on her own and is assaulted and raped by an intruder, turning both her and Emad’s life upside down.

Forushande comes highly recommended and lauded, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I couldn’t go along with the story that centers the men and throws the women under the bus.

[Slight Spoilers]

The first hour of the film or so really took me in. I thought Ranaa and Emad a nice couple I wanted to hear more about and I was intrigued about the subplot with the previous tenant. But once the assault and rape happens, things unraveled for me.

Once that happened, the film swiveled away from the two as a couple and focused mostly on Emad who becomes obsessed with finding the culprit. And honestly I understand that this is a very difficult situation for him, but dammit, it’s not about him in that moment, it’s about her. And it wasn’t just Emad who was more interested in revenge than in his partner’s suffering, it was the film as well.

Plus, and that annoyed me almost more than the story focus, was how the tenant subplot was handled. Turns out, the tenant who lived there was either promiscuous or (which seems more likely) a sex worker and Ranaa’s attacker wanted to see her and didn’t realize that Ranaa was her and that’s why he assaulted her. And that’s an explanation that the film just gives as a matter of course. Of course, a woman with “loose morals” has to expect that a man just enters her apartment to rape and beat her. As if that would be in any way shape or form be okay or normal. And that woman, the previous tenant? I’m not sure she even gets a name in the film, but we definitely don’t get to find out whatever happened to her.

With that turn of events, the film lost me, despite the strong first half and the great cast. But it just told a story I couldn’t go along with.

Summarizing: Didn’t work for me.

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