It’s also about how things do and don’t change with time, and how the past is always present, which is a theme in a lot of your films.
Farhadi: Yes, this is a personal question, something that’s haunting me. The older I get, the more I’m haunted by it—this relationship that we have with our past. A friend in Spain told me this Cuban saying: “We don’t remember what past we had, or what past is awaiting us.” That’s something that I think is very true. In my culture, in Iranian culture, the past is very predominant, maybe I should say unfortunately, because nostalgia and the longing for the past is something that maybe sometimes prevents us from moving on.
Source : https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/interview-asghar-farhadi-on-everybody-knows-and-the-persistence-of-the-past/
Q: Going off of that point about morality, there are a few characters in The Salesman who, in any other film, might be completely vilified or else deprived of the detail and humanity that other characters are afforded. How important is it to you that we feel empathy even for the characters who do despicable things in your movies?
IMAGE SOURCE : internet
AF: This is the most important goal that I have in my films. I was talking with my friends and I told them, “If you want to write something on my grave, it should be ‘empathy.’” I’m always working towards empathy, even with the characters who do wrong. Audiences usually put themselves in the shoes of the good characters. They never put themselves in the shoes of the person who has done something wrong. And there is no challenge when you put yourselves in the shoes of the good people. The films where characters are heroic and do lots of great things are satisfying and comfortable to audiences. But I want audiences to put themselves in the shoes of characters who have done something wrong. In order to do that, I have to create empathy for the character. And [the audience] can then ask themselves, if I were in his shoes would I do the same thing or not? And if I were to do that, what decisions would I make after that? This is kind of an excuse for the audience to make self-realizations. For example, in About Elly, the audience has to ask themselves, If I was one of those people who went on the trip, would I lie to the fiancé as well and say we didn’t know [Elly] had a fiancé? Could I lie like them or not?
Source : http://reverseshot.org/interviews/entry/2306/farhadi