Asghar Farhadi Speaks Out About ‘A Hero’ Plagiarism Allegations For The First Time – Deadline
If the jury press conference for the 75and edition of the walking sticks Film Festival is something to pass, we are in for a pretty punchy ride on the Croisette for the next few weeks.
Iranian director Asghar Fahradi has spoken for the first time about a plagiarism complaint that was filed against him by his former film student Azadeh Masihzadeh, who accused him of stealing the Grand Prix winner’s idea from Cannes last year. A hero. Masihzadeh says the two-time Oscar winner took the idea straight from her 2018 documentary All winners, all losers.
The director, initially found guilty, is currently waiting to hear whether the evidence against him will be challenged or re-examined and insists that false information is being spread by different media outlets.
“I never spoke directly about this case,” Fahradi said at Tuesday’s press conference. “This documentary was something I saw in a workshop and talked about with a student but much later I created the film A hero and this cannot be considered a means of plagiarism. In A hero, what’s in the film is something quite different from what’s in the documentary. We have to see why some journalists disseminated this erroneous information.
The director added: “What we do is make fiction films and what I did in my film A hero has nothing to do with the work done in the studio I just mentioned. It was based on a current event, so this documentary and film is based on an event that happened two years before the workshop. When an event takes place and is covered by the press, then it becomes public and you can do whatever you want with the event. You can write a story or make a movie about the event. You can view information about this event. A hero is only one interpretation of this event.
After Masihzadeh’s trial, Farhadi filed a defamation suit claiming there was “insufficient evidence” to support the allegations. If found guilty, she faces a prison term of up to two years and 75 lashes, as corporal punishment is still part of Iran’s penal system.
Asked directly about her feelings about what kind of punishment she might face, Farhadi dodged the question.
“It’s a very long process, obviously it created some discomfort, but the film was not based on the documentary and it was even suggested that the income from the film should be split between the two of us,” he said. -he declares. “I think the matter will no doubt be cleared up and I’m sorry it caused so much discomfort.”
A hero follows the story of a man who discovers a bag of gold coins while temporarily released from prison. But after receiving attention for his kind act, the police believe he is lying.
The entire jury for this year’s edition, chaired by Titanium star Vincent Lindon and understand Rebecca Room, Noomi Rapace, Jeff Nichols and Joachim Treveswas on hand to answer questions at the Palais before the festival officially kicks off tonight.
Asked if the festival is doing enough to address gender equality and racial diversity with its line-up, Hall joked “I think they picked the jury well,” which sparked laughs in the room.
“I believe it’s a work in progress on every level,” Hall said. “The way we approach this, the way to manage these things must also be addressed at the local level. It’s not just festivals or public situations. It’s all about the minutiae of what’s going on in the industry as a whole and it has a lot to do with education and helping to get people in who don’t have access to those doors and I think that we’re in a better place than we’ve been but I don’t think it’s over.
When asked about how on-screen portrayal would affect the jury’s judgment of the titles they watch, Nichols said “the stories shared are inherently human.”
“I think it’s our job to respond to those stories as humans and take the emotion they’re feeling and assess how that affects us,” he said. “I can’t imagine a jury as diverse, thoughtful and intelligent as this one wouldn’t land on every subject humanity struggles with.”
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