Ashar Farhadi has long established himself as one of the premiere directors in the world. His 2011 film, “A Separation” was widely praised internationally and in America. The film took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and also picked up a nomination for screenwriting. Farhardi’s followup, “The Past” took home two awards from the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Not only did Farhadi win the Ecumenical Jury award, but actress Bérénice Bejo won Best Actress.
At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Farhadi began building the case for another Oscar run. His new film, “The Salesman” is based on Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” play. The classic play has been adapted on numerous occasions, but Farhadi’s take seems to be gaining traction. At Cannes the film took home a Best Actor award for Shahab Hosseini, as well as Screenplay for Farhadi. Winning on a stage as big as Cannes, even if this was not a strong year for the festival, still works to separate the film from its competition.
This week, Farhadi’s latest continued to build on its momentum. The film screened at the Munich Film Festival this week and picked up the trophy for Best International Film. Farhadi’s “The Past” also competed in this category in 2013, but lost to Amat Escalante’s “Heli.” The festival has crowned eventual nominees, like 2014’s “Leviathan,” and classic foreign films like “Le Havre” (2011) and “Mother” (2010). There’s little doubt that the award will help the film moving forward.
While this is not the most prestigious film festival, the pedigree behind the film will keep it relevant as move into Oscar season. Winning film festivals against strong competition only furthers to help voters come January. Farhadi has already been shown to be popular with Oscar, and “The Salesman” continues to pile on wins, it’ll be tough to beat. It appears we have one of the true thoroughbreds of the foreign nominees beginning to separate itself from the pack.
Asghar Farhari’s “The Salesman” will be released by Amazon Studios and Cohen Media Group on December 9th, 2016.