Iranian director and two-time Academy Award-winner Asghar Farhadi is facing legal action over accusations that he plagiarized his latest feature film “A Hero” from a former student. The film—winner of the Grand Prix in last year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival—tells the story of an Iranian inmate who gains fame after finding a purse of gold coins and tracking down its owner, instead of keeping it for himself.
Farhadi’s former student Azadeh Masihzadeh claims that “A Hero” is based on her documentary “All Winners All Losers”. On Sunday, she was allowed to proceed with legal action against the director based on her copyright claim. But the film’s producer, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, said on Tuesday that he believed the case will be thrown out. “We firmly believe that the court will dismiss Ms. Masihzadeh, who cannot claim ownership on matters in the public domain,” he said in a statement.
He noted that the story behind the film “has been disclosed in both press articles and TV reports years before Ms. Masihzadeh’s documentary was published”. The “story of this former prisoner finding gold in the street and giving it back to its owner is only the starting point of the plot of A Hero”, Mallet-Guy added. “The remaining is Asghar’s pure creation.”
Farhadi’s lawyer, Kaveh Rad, wrote on Instagram on Monday that there were “three complaints against the movie”, two of which were dropped. The two dropped complaints concerned Masihzadeh’s revenue claim and a defamation lawsuit filed by the real-life prisoner depicted in the film. Rad added that the decision to proceed with the copyright claim would be re-examined in a second court and afterwards in a court of appeal. Farhadi, who received two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film for “A Separation” in 2011 and “The Salesman” in 2016, has not commented on the issue. The 49-year-old director is known for films that tackle everyday challenges in people’s lives. — AFP