From “Things Not Said,” posted during Cannes Film Festival on 5.21.16: “Emad, a 30something Tehran school teacher (Shahab Hosseini), is playing Willy Loman in a stage production of Arthur Miller‘s Death of a Salesman, and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) is playing Linda, Willy’s wife. An intriguing endeavor but the play, we soon learn, isn’t central to their story.
“Forced by structural problems to vacate their apartment building, the couple has moved into another place, a bit raggedy but reasonably spacious, that a friend has referred them to. The wrinkle is that it was recently vacated by a prostitute or, as locals describe her, ‘a woman with many male companions.’ But things are otherwise okay. Emad and Rana are happy (they’re thinking about having a child), Emad enjoys his teaching job, the play is selling tickets, etc.
“One day while Emad is out and Rana is about to take a shower, the front-door alarm sounds and Rana, presuming it’s Emad, pushes the buzzer. But it’s someone else — a client of the prostitute. We’re not shown what happens next, but Emad returns to signs of a struggle and blood stains on the floor. Rana has been taken to a hospital, he’s told. She’s okay but has suffered a head wound that requires stitches. She’s been assaulted but not raped.
“The attack is bad enough, but from Eman’s perspective there’s another problem. Rana, traumatized and emotionally numb, is reluctant to share details about what precisely happened. At first she says she didn’t see her attacker’s face, but later she indicates that she did catch a glimpse. And then Emad finds someone’s cell phone and a set of keys in the apartment, and also a wad of cash. On top of which a pickup truck, apparently belonging to the attacker, is parked outside, and the keys Eman has found fit the door lock and the ignition.