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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Oscar winner ‘The Salesman’ worth a second view

Other than host Jimmy Kimmel's numerous pokes at Donald Trump, Sunday's Oscars telecast was relatively muted in terms of political speeches given — unlike the Golden Globes, for example.

But one of the most focused comments came during the presentation of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, which went to "The Salesman," which was written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.

Farhadi, if you'll recall, declined to attend the ceremonies. It's arguable that he might not have been able to, considering Trump's controversial executive order barring immigrants from seven countries, one of which is Iran. But Farhadi said he would not come as a way of protesting the order.

That didn't stop Anousheh Ansari, the woman who accepted the Oscar on Farhadi's behalf, from commenting. Reading from a statement written by Farhadi, Ansari said, “Dividing the world into categories of ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ creates fear.”

By the way, this is Farhadi's second Oscar. His first came for his 2011 film "A Separation." The irony is that his two Oscars haven't won him fans among all Iranians.

If you haven't yet seen "The Salesman," the Magic Lantern Theater is bringing the film back for a second run. It opens on Friday. Following are some of the critical comments:

David Sims, The Atlantic: "A typically wrenching film for Farhadi, one that morphs from a quiet family drama to a tale of revenge, and is all the more impressive for how seamlessly it executes that shift."

Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail: "It is a work entirely worthy of any prize anyone chooses to bestow on it, a compassionate and intelligent thing that should linger long after the 24-hour news cycle is over or the political flavour of the month goes stale."

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal: "Tightly focused, rather than broad-gauge brilliant, and another instance of this superb filmmaker turning elusive motivations and the mysteries of personality into gripping drama."

For a variety of reasons, "The Salesman" is worth a view. Even a second one.