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The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State

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The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State

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Cinema Iranica (May 27, 2024) The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State. Retrieved from https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/the-salesman-2016-gheirat-and-negotiations-with-the-state/.
"The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State." Cinema Iranica - May 27, 2024, https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/the-salesman-2016-gheirat-and-negotiations-with-the-state/
Cinema Iranica March 10, 2024 The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State., viewed May 27, 2024,<https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/the-salesman-2016-gheirat-and-negotiations-with-the-state/>
"The Salesman (2016), Gheirat, and Negotiations With The State." Cinema Iranica - Accessed May 27, 2024. https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/the-salesman-2016-gheirat-and-negotiations-with-the-state/

The Salesman (2016) by Asghar Farhadi is one of the most successful films in Iranian cinema
history, attracting both international festivals and domestic audiences. In this study, I will argue
that the film belongs to a strand of films that I call “gheirat films” starting primarily in the late
1960s and the popularization of Gheisar (1969, Masud Kimiai) in Iran. Gheirat is an Islamic
concept that primarily manifests in male-female relationships accompanied by a sense of
protection of close family members. Gheirat films can be considered an Iranian subcategory of
revenge stories, where revenge is provoked by rape or sexual assault of namoos (female close
members such as mother, sister, and wife). In Iranian cinema, there is a fixation on male
characters in gheirat stories. This male fixation has two features: first, in the narrative, it renders
the victim of the sexual assault, the female character, an abject object, reducing her space in the
narrative. The female characters either die, commit suicide, or are to some extent eliminated
from the narrative. Second, eliciting gheirat is thought to be a male phenomenon, contrary to the
reality of Iranian society and many scientific studies that demonstrate its gender neutrality. There
seems to be a development in treating the female victim in The Salesman compared to films such
as Gheisar, as she is not removed entirely from the narrative. However, in this modern gheirat
film, not only the female protagonist’s (Rana’s) presence is minimized in the story of her own
sexual assault, but she is also stripped of virtually any type of agency. The Salesman’s male
fixation can stem from the negotiations with the Islamic Republic and its male gaze-driven
modesty censorship rules that require it; however, unlike in Gheisar, the honor embedded in
eliciting gheirat is problematized and the male protagonist (Emad) undergoes a
demasculinization process.