Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning film The Salesman (Forushande in Persian) centers around the notion of love, friendship, trust, revenge and forgiveness. If you have seen Farhadi’s previous films like About Elly or The Separation you know they leave you with more questions than answers. In The Salesman Farhadi skillfully peels layer after layer and leaves you with what is essential to any relationship – trust, love and forgiveness. The film also give us a view of modern day Iranian society and the toll that censorship takes on a society.
Central to the film is the relationship between Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidosti) a husband and wife, who are passionate about theatre. The couple along with their friends are in the process of staging a Persian version of Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman. The couple’s happy life is rudely interrupted one night when they discover their apartment building is collapsing. They leave their home and have no idea how and where they will find a new home to rent. As luck would have it their theatre colleague helps them find a new apartment. When they move into their new place the couple discover that one of the room contains the previous tenant’s possessions. For some inexplicable reason the previous tenant (a woman) appears to have vacated the apartment in a hurry. Emad and Rana treat it as a minor & temporary inconvenience that they don’t have access to the previous tenant’s room. They settle down to resume their life and the rehearsal of their play.
One evening Rana hears the bell ring just as she is going in for a shower. She unlatches the front door for Emad and slips into the bathroom. That is the first twist in the narrative and changes into a whodunit film. Turns out it was not Emad who rang the bell, but a stranger, who sexually assaults Rana. When Emad comes home that evening he discovers what happens to Rana he is devastated. Why was Rana assaulted and by whom? Could there be a connection to the previous tenant, who left behind her belongings? This is when the film becomes interesting as we follow Emad’s painful journey to track the culprit that ends on a rather unexpected note.
In 2012 Farahadi won an Oscar for his film The Separation. In 2o17 The Salesman won an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category and is a strong contender in this year’s Oscar race. Farhadi along with his cinematographer Hossein Jafarian was planning on attending the Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Due to the recent US travel restrictions on citizens of Iran Farhadi will not attend the Oscar awards ceremony. He issued an official statement saying that he will not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in February.
The Salesman released in the San Francisco Bay area on Feb 3, 2017.
We caught up with Oscar nominee Theodore Melfi of Hidden Figures inSan Francisco. Melfi directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Alison Schroder. We talked to him about the making of Hidden Figures, how he got attached to the film. the math boot camp for his actors and the music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.The film won 3 Oscar nominations: best picture, best supporting actress and the best adapted screenplay.
LISTEN: OSCAR NOMINEE THEODORE MELFI ON HIDDEN FIGURES & MATH BOOT CAMP:
Hidden Figures is a true story based by a book by the same name by Margot Lee Shetterley. The film is about 3 African-American math teachers, who worked in NASA’s Apollo project in the 1960s. The film highlights how these women overcame racism and prejudice in the workplace. Interestingly, the stories of these African-Americans and their contribution to NASA has largely remain hidden until now.
In December 2016 Melfi and Olivia Spencer, who acts in the film were in San Francisco to receive The Sloan Science in Cinema award. The award is given by the San Francisco Film Society and The Sloan Foundation.
I sat down to speak to with Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges about his role in Manchester By The Sea, Kenneth Lonergan, his new film with Martin McDonagh, acting, learning to pay the banjo and his love for Harry Potter. We also find out why he elected to study at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which is where his father Peter Hedges studied. And, finally we find out why his father says “Have the day you have,” instead of the usual greeting like “Have a good day.”
Manchester By The Sea is a sharply nuanced film that gets under your skin and makes you uncomfortable. It is bleak, tragic & funny. Hedges provides the much-needed humor in the film. The film is about love, tragedy, and circle of life and is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, who also wrote the screenplay for Analyze This and Gangs of New York among others.
LISTEN: OSCAR NOMINEE LUCAS HEDGES ON MANCHESTER BY THE SEA & HARRY POTTER
In January 2017 Hedges was nominated for the Oscars for best supporting role. This is Hedges first Oscar nomination. He is the youngest actor to be nominated in this year’s Oscars. Other actors nominated in the category include Dev Patel, Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and Mahershala Ali.
Manchester By The Sea stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and others.
Title: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Running Time: 137 minutes
Status: Released in 2016
This interview with Hedges was recorded in San Francisco and aired on TV. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.