Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian filmmaker known for his insightful and emotionally charged dramas that explore the complexities of human relationships and social dynamics.

He has become one of the most celebrated and acclaimed directors working in world cinema today, receiving numerous awards and nominations for his films.

Farhadi’s films are known for their gripping and nuanced portrayals of interpersonal conflict and tension, as well as their ability to shed light on contemporary Iranian society and culture.

Best Asghar Farhadi Films

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of Farhadi’s best films and what makes them stand out in the world of cinema.

1. Dancing in the Dust (2003)

While “Dancing in the Dust” is not as well-known as some of Farhadi’s later films, it is a powerful and compelling drama that explores the themes of love, betrayal, and tradition.

The film tells the story of a young couple, Morteza and Khatoun, who are forced to flee their village after Morteza kills his wife’s brother in self-defense.

As they journey across the Iranian countryside, they struggle to navigate the complex cultural and social dynamics that govern their lives, and find themselves at odds with each other as well.

“Dancing in the Dust” is notable for its raw and naturalistic performances, particularly from non-professional actors. It also showcases Farhadi’s ability to blend elements of traditional Iranian culture with universal themes of love, loss, and redemption.

While it may not have the same critical acclaim as some of his later works, “Dancing in the Dust” is a powerful and moving film that showcases Farhadi’s talent as a filmmaker.

Dancing in the Dust: A novel
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Molope, Kagiso Lesego (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 01/01/2002 (Publication Date) - TSAR Publications (Publisher)

2. Beautiful City (2004)

“Beautiful City” is a poignant and thought-provoking film that delves into the complexities of Iranian society, particularly with regards to its youth and the justice system.

The film tells the story of Akbar, a young man who is released from prison on parole and returns to Tehran to try and make amends for his past mistakes.

Akbar finds himself drawn to a young woman named Firoozeh, who is struggling to take care of her family while also fighting against the injustices of the system.

   

“Beautiful City” is notable for its powerful and emotionally charged performances, particularly from its young cast, and for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of contemporary Iranian society.

The film also showcases Farhadi’s skill at weaving together multiple storylines and themes to create a cohesive and compelling narrative.

Through its exploration of justice, poverty, and the struggles of Iranian youth, “Beautiful City” is a moving and insightful film that offers a unique and compassionate view of Iranian culture.

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3. Fireworks Wednesday (2006)

“Fireworks Wednesday” is a captivating and suspenseful drama that explores the themes of love, marriage, and infidelity.

The film follows a young woman named Roohi, who takes a job as a cleaning lady for a wealthy family in Tehran.

As she begins to clean the house, she becomes embroiled in the personal lives of the family members, particularly the wife, Mojdeh, who suspects her husband is having an affair.

The film is notable for its tense and emotionally charged atmosphere, which is built through subtle hints and clues that suggest the underlying tensions and conflicts in the story.

Farhadi’s ability to create a sense of unease and suspense through his storytelling and cinematography is on full display in “Fireworks Wednesday”.

Additionally, the film features strong performances from its cast, particularly Taraneh Alidoosti as Roohi and Hedye Tehrani as Mojdeh.

“Fireworks Wednesday” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that sheds light on the complex nature of relationships, particularly within the context of Iranian society.

It is a must-watch for anyone interested in contemporary Iranian cinema and Farhadi’s unique style of storytelling.

Fireworks Wednesday
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Hamid Farrokhnezhad, Hediyeh Tehrani, Taraneh Alidoosti (Actors)
  • Asghar Farhadi (Director) - Asghar Farhadi (Writer) - Jamal Sadatian (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

   

4. About Elly (2009)

“About Elly” is a gripping and emotionally intense drama that explores the themes of truth, responsibility, and social conventions in contemporary Iranian society.

The film follows a group of old college friends who go on a weekend trip to the seaside with their families. Among the group is Elly, a young teacher who is invited to join the group by one of the mothers.

The group’s seemingly idyllic vacation takes a turn when Elly disappears, and the search for her uncovers a web of lies and secrets that threaten to destroy the group’s relationships and their own sense of morality.

“About Elly” is notable for its exceptional performances, particularly from Golshifteh Farahani, who plays Sepideh, the woman who invites Elly on the trip.

The film is also marked by Farhadi’s ability to capture the subtle nuances of Iranian social conventions and the ways in which they can create conflict and tension in relationships.

Through its exploration of the moral and ethical implications of the characters’ actions, “About Elly” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a unique perspective on contemporary Iranian society.

It is widely regarded as one of Farhadi’s finest works and a landmark of Iranian cinema.

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5. A Separation (2011)

“A Separation” is an intense and emotionally powerful drama that explores the complexities of family relationships, social conventions, and the legal system in contemporary Iranian society.

The film follows a middle-class couple, Nader and Simin, who are going through a separation. As they try to navigate their divorce and the custody of their daughter, they become embroiled in a series of conflicts that reveal the deep-seated social and cultural tensions in Iranian society.

The film is notable for its exceptional performances, particularly from Leila Hatami and Peyman Maadi as Simin and Nader, respectively, and Sareh Bayat as Razieh, the caretaker hired by Nader to take care of his elderly father.

The performances are all grounded in a nuanced and complex script that explores the many layers of Iranian social and cultural life.

“A Separation” is widely regarded as one of Farhadi’s finest works and a masterpiece of contemporary Iranian cinema. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, making it the first Iranian film to win the award.

Through its exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the social and cultural forces that shape them, “A Separation” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a unique perspective on contemporary Iranian society.

A Separation
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami (Actors)
  • Asghar Farhadi (Director)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Persian (Publication Language)

6. The Past (2013)

“The Past” is a complex and emotionally charged drama that explores the aftermath of a divorce and the lingering effects of past traumas.

The film follows Ahmad, an Iranian man who returns to France to finalize his divorce from Marie, his French wife.

When he arrives, he finds himself caught up in a web of secrets and lies involving Marie, her new partner, and her daughter from a previous relationship.

As the story unfolds, the film delves into the complexities of family relationships, the nature of memory, and the ways in which our past experiences shape our present and future.

The film is anchored by a series of exceptional performances, particularly from Bérénice Bejo as Marie and Tahar Rahim as Samir, her new partner.

The performances are all grounded in a subtle and nuanced script that explores the many layers of human relationships.

“The Past” is another critically acclaimed work by Asghar Farhadi, and it has been praised for its exceptional performances, its deft direction, and its deeply emotional and thought-provoking story.

The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and it solidified Farhadi’s reputation as one of the most talented and innovative filmmakers working today.

The Past [DVD]
  • Polish Release, cover may contain Polish text/markings. The disk has English subtitles.
  • English (Subtitle)

7. The Salesman (2016)

“The Salesman” is a powerful and gripping drama that centers around a married couple, Emad and Rana, who are both actors in Tehran, Iran.

When their apartment becomes uninhabitable, they are forced to move into a new apartment, which was previously occupied by a woman with a questionable past.

One night, while Emad is away, Rana is attacked in their home, leaving her traumatized and emotionally devastated.

As Emad becomes increasingly obsessed with finding the perpetrator, the couple’s relationship is strained to the breaking point.

The film explores themes of guilt, revenge, and the consequences of our actions. It is a deeply human story that delves into the complexities of marriage and the ways in which our past experiences can shape our present and future.

“The Salesman” was directed by Asghar Farhadi and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017.

The film was praised for its exceptional performances, particularly by Shahab Hosseini as Emad, and the skillful direction of Farhadi.

It is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking film that has been widely acclaimed for its powerful storytelling and sensitive treatment of complex and difficult subject matter.

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8. Everybody Knows (2018)

“Everybody Knows” is a Spanish-language psychological thriller directed by Asghar Farhadi. The film follows the story of Laura, a Spanish woman who returns to her hometown with her children for her sister’s wedding.

During the festivities, her teenage daughter is kidnapped, and Laura’s family is left to deal with the aftermath and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the abduction.

As the investigation unfolds, long-buried family secrets and resentments come to the surface, and relationships are tested.

The film is a masterful exploration of the complexities of family dynamics, trust, and betrayal.

The film stars Penélope Cruz as Laura, Javier Bardem as Paco, and Ricardo Darín as Alejandro, and received critical acclaim for its performances and storytelling.

Farhadi’s direction and screenplay were also widely praised for their subtle and intricate handling of the film’s themes and plot.

Overall, “Everybody Knows” is a gripping and emotionally charged drama that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Ricardo Darín (Actors)
  • Asghar Farhadi (Director) - Asghar Farhadi (Writer) - Alexandre Mallet-Guy (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3 Characteristics of Asghar Farhadi Films

Here are three characteristics of Asghar Farhadi films:

  1. Emphasis on complex human relationships: Farhadi’s films often explore the complex dynamics of human relationships, particularly within families or small communities. He is known for his nuanced and insightful portrayals of characters and their interactions, and his films often delve into themes such as love, loyalty, betrayal, and forgiveness.
  2. Use of suspense and tension: Farhadi is a master of building suspense and tension in his films. He often uses subtle hints and clues to create a sense of foreboding and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The tension is usually rooted in the characters’ relationships and their secrets and lies, rather than in external action or violence.
  3. Exploration of social and political issues: Farhadi’s films also often touch on social and political issues in Iran and beyond. He uses the personal struggles of his characters to shed light on broader issues such as gender inequality, class tensions, and the impact of tradition and religion on modern society.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Asghar Farhadi Films

Here are three reasons why you should watch Asghar Farhadi films:

  1. Insightful portrayal of human relationships: Farhadi’s films provide a deeply insightful and nuanced portrayal of human relationships. He explores complex and challenging themes such as love, loyalty, betrayal, and forgiveness, and his characters are always richly drawn and believable.
  2. Engaging storytelling and use of suspense: Farhadi is a master of suspense, and his films keep audiences on the edge of their seats. He is skilled at building tension and suspense through his storytelling, often revealing critical information at just the right moment to keep the audience engaged and guessing.
  3. Exploration of social and political issues: Farhadi’s films often delve into broader social and political issues in Iran and beyond. His work provides a unique insight into Iranian society and culture, while also exploring universal themes and issues that are relevant to people everywhere. Watching Farhadi’s films can be a deeply enriching and educational experience.

Best Asghar Farhadi Films – Wrapping Up

Asghar Farhadi is a highly acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, known for his insightful and nuanced portrayals of human relationships, his use of suspense, and his exploration of social and political issues. Here are the best Asghar Farhadi films that you should watch:

  1. A Separation (2011)
  2. About Elly (2009)
  3. The Salesman (2016)
  4. Fireworks Wednesday (2006)
  5. Everybody Knows (2018)
  6. The Past (2013)
  7. Dancing in the Dust (2003)
  8. Beautiful City (2004)

These films showcase Farhadi’s signature style and provide a compelling and thought-provoking look at human relationships and the broader social and political issues of contemporary Iran.

Whether you are a fan of foreign films or just looking for compelling, emotionally engaging storytelling, Asghar Farhadi’s films are definitely worth watching.