“It’s As If I Made A Suit Starting from the Buttons Instead of the Fabric”: Four Questions for Everybody Knows Writer/Director Asghar Farhadi

Filmmaker Magazine | 2/18/2019 | Aaron Hunt
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by Aaron Hunt

As in Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly (2009), a woman’s disappearance in Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben—this is Farhadi’s first film in Spanish) is the inciting incident. This time it is Irene, the daughter of Laura (Penelope Cruz), swept from her bed on the night of her aunt’s wedding—either by her own anarchic free spirit, or a kidnapper, stranger, or kin. Irene’s absence turns up dormant family secrets and suspicions that, perhaps, they all already knew. Bare and exposed, the festered family wounds must be dealt with until new ones emerge to be cast aside.

Everybody - Knows - Realist - Thriller - Farhadi

Everybody Knows is another social realist thriller in the Farhadi vein of big symbols and clearly operating allegories. Even though we can see the characters as the mechanisms propelling Farhadi’s complex morality tale, their function still feels honest and believed. That’s due, in large part, to Farhadi’s approach to realism. In his script writing, details are wrought in the developing stages before they’re attached to a vaster scheme. But, throughout our discussion, Farhadi articulated frequently through metaphor, analogy and example.

Filmmaker: When people refer to the naturalism or realism of your films, they can depreciate your use of film’s more subjective devices. Your reality can still be heightened, emphatic or de-emphasized. That’s reflected in your use of sound design in Everybody Knows. The blaring windshield wipers in the scene where Paco drives Laura, Maria, and Fernando to search for Irene mimic their anxious pulses, for instance, and certain sounds are heightened or softened in tandem with the mood. The car engine doesn’t sound consistent, it changes from a roar to a soft grumble depending. How do these heightened or accentuated elements relate to the reality of your films?

Farhadi - Reality - Reality - Something

Farhadi: Well, how do you define reality? Reality is not something factual and objective. You can’t define...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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