Oscar Nominated (Foreign Language Category) – THE SALESMAN will open the film in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, January 27th, with a national rollout to follow.
New York’s Lincoln Center Cinema 6 screenings here.
Film Courage: Asghar, is it true that you view screenwriting almost like a math equation? You piece parts together? What is your process for screenwriting?
Asghar Farhadi (via translator): The thing that might interest you and that I’ll explain to you is that when I start I am writing without any kind of calculation, any kind of architectural overview
It seems, when you actually see the film, that I’ve begun with the puzzle pieces that I keep moving around until I find the final shape, but it’s truly the opposite.
Once I’ve written a first draft summary, it’s only then that I begin to correct and to change the puzzle pieces in a conscious manner.
Meaning I write in the first stage with my heart and the rest of it with my mind.
“I’ve always refrained from giving specific advice to try and guide someone because the advice could in fact lead them the wrong way. But the one thing I can say is [for an aspiring filmmaker] to tap into their unconscious to make their films, rather than their conscious mind to start with.”
Film Courage: You have many people waiting for your movies. Do you ever feel a pressure or what are your thoughts on an audience that can be fickle at times? I know you’ve said previously that awards, although they’re nice and complimentary toward your work, are not the only reason that you make films.
Asghar Farhadi (via translator): As I’ve stated before these events allow the audiences to become more familiar with the language of my films and (for a greater number of them) to see my films.
What I don’t like is that they go see the film to see me more than to see the film and where it is strong and where it might not be strong.
Film Courage: How do you feel about your films being framed in a cultural view instead of a mere thought of just stories about relationships, about people? So when you make a movie from a Western standpoint, it’s seen from a cultural view with some sort of statement when it’s more about human beings interacting?
Asghar Farhadi (via translator): It really depends on the viewer and what their preference is and what angle they look at the film from. It’s possible that some viewers in a far away city may see the film and no cultural aspect is important to them. They are just interested in seeing these characters and where they’re going.
However, as this is a realistic film and it is made in a society and the characteristics of that society are reflected in and can be found in the film.
Film Courage: I know as a teenager (in the 1980’s) you were involved in a cinema society. What would you advise to a young, Iranian filmmaker today who wants to make movies?
Asghar Farhadi (via translator): I’ve always refrained from giving specific advice to try and guide someone because the advice could in fact lead them the wrong way. But the one thing I can say is to tap into their unconscious to make their films, rather than their conscious mind to start with.
We all have this incredible wealth that is our unconscious and over time it some how has been veiled and sunk to some depth that we can’t access it, but if we could access it there are unexpected and wonderful things there.
Film Courage: Going back to those early days of the cinema society, what was your goal in terms of making movies? I think it was an Eastern European film you saw that really changed things for you, maybe? But what did you want to say with film and what was your goal in making them?
Asghar Farhadi (via translator): There’s a number of things. The one thing is that I really derive great pleasure from filmmaking and if I were not able to do this, life would be difficult for me.
The other thing that is important and perhaps has become even more so recently, is for me to address questions I have in my films and then in the course of the ensuing discussions learn and grow.
Film Courage: Excellent. Thank you.
Asghar Farhadi: You’re welcome. Thank you.
THE SALESMAN opens in NY & LA Friday January 27th, 2017
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About THE SALESMAN:
After their old flat becomes damaged, Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, are forced to move into a new apartment. However, once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife. A master at exposing domestic discord through his multi-layered screenplays, Farhadi’s slow-burning, visceral drama explores the psychology of vengeance and a relationship put under strain while continuing to explore the condition of women in Iran and the male psyche.
Forty-four year-old Asghar Farhadi was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time in 2012, after his film, A SEPARATION, won the Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as numerous other awards. THE PAST won the 2013 Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actress Award and the Ecumenical Jury Prize and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. ABOUT ELLY won the 2012 Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Director. His next film, starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, will be shot in Spain this year. THE SALESMAN is his seventh feature.
PROBLEMSKI HOTEL: For the inmates of the multinational residential center somewhere in Europe, the circular, black comedy that is the cross-frontier migrant’s life ‘within the system’ becomes even blacker in December. For we are in the European ‘season of gladness and joy.’ Bipul doesn’t want to admit it to himself, but the Russian girl’s arrival makes a difference: Lidia. Hope? Surely not! A future? Get real! December is also the ninth month of Martina’s pregnancy. Pregnancies don’t go round in circles; they end in eruptions. Because when the situation is hopeless, rescue is near.
SURVIVING SKOKIE: They survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to America to put the past behind. For decades they kept their awful memories secret, even from their children. But their silence ended when a band of neo-Nazi thugs threatened to march in their quiet village of Skokie, Illinois “because that is where the Jews are.”
Surviving Skokie is an intensely personal documentary by former Skokie resident Eli Adler about the provocative events of the 1970s, their aftermath, his family’s horrific experience of the Shoah, and a journey with his father to confront long-suppressed memories.
“Hi, Mom!” Zooppa has partnered up with T-Mobile on a brand new project! T-Mobile gives its customers unlimited data and texting in over 140 countries and destinations—at no extra cost. T-Mobile wants to inspire those customers to travel and get off-the-beaten path—to be explorers, not tourists—and unlock adventures they can share when they take their phones. The ‘Hi, Mom’ project focuses on sharing the most extreme moments of adventure outside of the United States with family and friends back at home.
The project is open for submissions until February 21st, 2017 at 4:00 PM PST. There are $40,000 in total cash awards available that will be assigned to the top eight videos chosen by T-Mobile. In addition to the cash awards, all winning videos will also be featured on T-Mobile’s social and web platforms or as a part of a compilation celebrating adventurous moments from around the world.
THE WEEKEND SAILOR is a new feature documentary about the unexpected victory of the Mexican yacht Sayula II in the first crewed sailing race around the world in 1974. The most demanding sailing quest in history.
Sailor, Ramon Carlín visits his rebellious son, Enrique in the United Kingdom and comes across a magazine advertising a sailing race around the world. Although he had been sailing casually for two years, Ramon embarks on this race and brings his son along as an opportunity to not only teach him discipline but real life experiences as well.
Catch 22: based on the unwritten story by seanie sugrue: With Hurricane Sandy looming on the horizon, five hard-lived friends come to from a send-off celebration alongside an unexplained dead girl. What are friends for?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT): Zooppa and Nickelodeon are inviting filmmakers and motion graphic artists from around the world to reimagine TMNT on a global scale through depicting what they are up to in various home towns or cities. The goal is to show how the Turtles would come to life in any given location, using local city or pop culture influences to help tell the story. Zooppa and Nickelodeon are looking for imagination and creativity, the videos made should be a fun way to share Turtle stories from across the globe––authenticity is key!
The project is open for submissions until February 23rd, 2017 at 4:00PM PST. There are $25,000 in cash awards available to the top 10 videos that will be chosen by Nickelodeon.