0719 GMT November 17, 2019
Rana (Taraneh Alidousti) is a demure and serene woman, a spouse whose spirit matches that of Emad, and who shows that at times she can escape from her serene mold and perform a risky action. Without regard to her husband's suggestions, and without his permission, she evacuates the previous tenant's room (which is being used as storage), and she gives the delay in the previous tenant's evacuating the room as the reason for her action.
The main action in the film begins with Rana's carelessness in opening the entrance door to their apartment late at night because she was expecting her husband, but as she enters the shower, a stranger enters the apartment.
After this incident, Rana becomes more introverted, and due to losing her power of choice, confused and dumbfounded, she lives in her new world. Although she earnestly seeks to forget the recent incident, all events culminate in this incident!
A homemade spaghetti meal, relaxing music, and the presence of their colleague's little boy alongside them sweetens their lives, depicting a pleasant threesome, to the point that even the viewer begins to forget the harsh incident. However, all of this moves toward a bitter point.
When Emad becomes insistent upon finding the stranger who had entered their apartment, viewers expect to see a young man. With the appearance of Majid (the van driver), viewers are smug in their conjecture, and upon hearing that he is a bridegroom, they feel sorry for the bride. However, with Emad's persistent questioning, the ambiguities are thrust aside and it is revealed that the stranger who had intruded upon the sanctuary of their home was none other than a simple, balding old man with a feeble appearance.
In his fifties, of weak financial means, the old man had an illicit relationship with the previous tenant, a woman of low morals.
Thereafter, ifs and maybes are never ending. What if Babak (their friend and landlord) had not concealed something? What if Emad had made a copy of the house keys and was able to enter their flat without pressing the buzzer? What if Rana had not opened the door to the flat based on a mere guess that the person who would enter is her expected husband? And what if the stranger would not have been tempted to sneak into the shower… this dreadful incident wouldn’t have occurred.
In fact, these ifs demonstrate that no particular person is to blame. Each person on the scene shares part of the responsibility, part of the blame.
Although Babak has been depicted as a benevolent and sympathetic friend, with some questioning by neighbors, the viewers' trust in him is diminished. In fact, with his concealment (of who the previous tenant had been), Babak is instrumental in the decline of the couple's life.
Carelessness appears as of the first scene; contractors who, without care, have ordered the excavation of land for a new building, causing the adjacent building to stand on shaky ground, endangering the lives of the residents. Thus, from the very beginning one can receive the film's message.
In Farhadi's films the house is a central theme. In 'Separation' ('The Separation of Nader from Simin' in the original Persian) all important events occur in a house. Likewise, in 'About Elly…' old friends get together in an abandoned, rented house on the Caspian coast, where their relationships are dispersed.
Likewise, in 'The Past', a man travels from Iran to France and stays at his former wife's house, where all events take place.
In 'The Salesman', too, during the first scene, as credits appear, the viewer is faced with the stage of a theater, a very simple house, and witnesses the lights of the house being turned on, one by one, which may symbolize the beginning of a life.
The film ends with the lights going out in the dilapidated satge for performing 'Death of a Salesman'.
'The Salesman' was the winner of best film script and best actor at Cannes 2016.