Arts

Iranian filmmaker’s latest work combines 'Death of a Salesman' and modern Tehran

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Asghar Farhadi, the renowned Iranian filmmaker, didn't take home a Golden Globe this year, but he has been putting Iranian cinema in the global spotlight for years.

Back in 2012, his movie "A Separation" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Since then, he's taken home many other international awards. His most recent film, "The Salesman," was nominated for a Golden Globe. It's a tense story, based in modern-day Tehran.

"It is about a couple who are rehearsing a production of Arthur Miller’s 'Death of a Salesman,'" Farhadi explains through his interpreter, Dorna Khazeni. "In the process of moving homes, they are confronted with events that they could not have foreseen and that creates an upheaval in their lives.”

Before he started making films, Farhadi studied theater. For a long time, he says, he wished he could return to that.

He never got the chance — until he realized he could experience theater in his films. Farhadi searched through plays; he read Jean-Paul Sartre and the 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

"When I came to the 'Death of a Salesman,' it really was a gift for me," he says.

The characters in Farhadi's film are actors in a modern-day re-creation of Miller's play in Tehran.

"The play acts as a mirror to the story of my film. There are many links that can be found between the two stories," he explains.

"The Salesman" lost to "Elle" at the Golden Globe this year. Farhadi says winning awards isn't why he makes movies.

"When you end up going to these red-carpet ceremonies and receiving awards and getting kudos, you can become, in the eyes of others, but even yourself, this person who is an earner of medals," he says.

For Farhadi, it's the process of filmmaking that brings him joy. Not the awards and recognition.

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