It seemed like an obstacle. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi presented another great film in competition in Cannes, hero† Whoever won prizes, this time the grand prize, or second prize. An Oscar nomination is sure to follow, and that’s sure enough: Farhadi was allowed to squeeze again this past winter in California, where he loves to be. He’s already won two Oscars, with Separation In 2012 and the seller in 2017.
But this time, Asghar Farhadi lost his credibility halfway through because a student accused him of plagiarism. Last week it became clear that he had to appear in court in Iran. Flaw on a national celebrity’s rang. Because whatever the authorities really think about his subtle moral tales or his success with “Great Satan” America, every Oscar flies the flags in Tehran. For his part, Farhadi is moving away from politics that opponents consider opportunistic. Now it is called a thief in the media. fallen hero?
his movie hero A classic and modern tragedy: an analysis of media logic and social buildup in which noble but contradictory intentions pave the way to Hell. Rahim (Amir Al-Jadidi) searches for the owner of a lady’s briefcase containing 17 gold coins that he discovers while on vacation from debt prison – he is imprisoned because he cannot repay a loan after being deceived by one of his associates. After this noble gesture, the media put him on a pedestal. After that, Rahim discovers that the hero has a limited shelf life.
rise and fall
We don’t know anything about the plagiarism case until now when we met Asghar Farhadi in Cannes on the rooftop terrace of the Marriott in July. He gives hints though. “The local media is very powerful in Iran and considers it their job to raise the morale of their community,” he says. “They always look for good examples of heroes. Then they spread on social media. The problem is that they are normal people who had a good moment or are brave. As heroes, she suddenly has to be pure and perfect all her life. The media will dig, and since no one is without sin Their rise will inevitably lead to their downfall.”
How do you come up with such a morally complex scenario, a colleague sighs. The issue of good observation and listening, Farhadi firmness. “Example. I recently spoke to a student in a workshop in the United States. He told me about his brother who had mental problems. He was in a hurry one morning to make an appointment. His father asked: Can you bring me a glass of water? He said: No, I must. To run, get it myself. When he came home his father died. Now he’s obsessed with that one glass of water. Suddenly a completely random moment becomes necessary. Do you see the movie?”
For example, Farhadi once organized a workshop in Iran about fallen heroes who were disillusioned and depressed, he says. “They unexpectedly receive a huge gift, the whole world loves them. Then they take that away and all the people look down on them. This is a horrible experience.”
When someone finds a sack of gold in Hollywood movies, they always end up with a pile of bodies, you’ve noticed. Was the famous crime script the starting point for his movie? or something else? Farhadi: „hero It is based on countless true Iranian stories about people who found and came back.” But if you end up in a media storm like Rahim heroDo you have to resist as he does? Or is it better to give up immediately? Farhadi: He surrendered immediately. I’m in such a media storm right now that I’m taking a step back. The response is pointless.”
We don’t ask questions in Cannes. It was only afterwards that I realized what Farhadi was referring to. Could he have bought a scandal, the way they handle copyright issues in Hollywood all along? Or was he looking for his right?
Read the “A Hero” movie review
The starting point hero It was already a workshop, as it turned out. In 2014, Farhadi led a workshop at Karnama Institute, a local film school. The students were asked to find a story about the people who returned the lost items. Student Azadeh Masihzadeh told a little-known and unique story from her hometown of Shiraz about Mohammad Reza Shukri who found a bag of gold coins while on vacation from debt prison.
Everyone, including Farhadi, admired her story. Masih Zadeh turned it into a documentary, All losers, all winnerswhich was shown at the 2018 Sihraz Film Festival. The following year, he summoned Farhadi to transfer the rights to the story to him. She said she got scared and fell.
When her story began spreading in Iranian media last year, charges and subpoenas followed. The Farhadi camp claims that the idea of hero From Bertolt Brecht’s play Galilee life legs; It is said that Shoukry’s case was brought to the public because it was previously reported by Iranian media in 2012. The latter denies that Masih Zadeh is accused of defamation. A crime punishable by two years imprisonment and 74 lashes. In turn, Farhadi was accused of plagiarism, which could cost him the film’s proceeds. The real hero, Mohammad Reza Shukri, also threw himself into the legal fray with a complaint against Farhadi: his photo in hero would be rude.
Read also about the new generation of filmmakers from Iran: Iranian cinema is an endless treasure
Workshop students and director of Karnama Institute endorse Masihzadeh’s novel, Banners The Hollywood Reporter employment. Last week, a court ruled that Farhadi’s potential copyright infringement would be brought to trial. The two defamation cases against Masihzadeh and my thanks were dropped. However this process ends, Farhadi is already hurt. It feels like a solid movie that doesn’t give the student “credit” for his movie role out of arrogance or greed. Otherwise, why did Masih Zadeh sign this statement?
A script full of moral shades of grey: it could just be a Farhadi movie. The manager might honestly think so hero His idea is: His workshop in 2014 was all about finding and returning things. In Cannes, he asserted that he did not believe in heroes, but not in villains either. “No one looks in the mirror and sees the villain there. That is the point of hero And perhaps tragedies in general. Because people don’t look beyond their own rights, agreement is impossible.”
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of April 13, 2022
Evil tv scholar. Proud twitter aficionado. Travel ninja. Hipster-friendly zombie fanatic.