Monday, Jul 04, 2022

Double Oscar Winner Asghar Farhadi Found Guilty Of Plagiarising 'A Hero'

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has been charged for plagiarising 'A Hero' which won the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival 2021. The lawsuit had been filed by his former student, Azadeh Masihzadeh, for copying elements from her documentary 'All Winners All Losers' without giving credit.

Asghar Farhadi
Asghar Farhadi Instagram/ @asgharfarhadiofficial

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has been charged in a case that was filed against him by his student. Former student, Azadeh Masihzadeh accused the filmmaker of plagiarising the premise for the film ‘A Hero’ from Masihzadeh’s documentary ‘All Winners All Losers’.

Tehran court found Farhadi guilty of violating Masihzadeh’s copyright and using elements from her documentary without giving credit, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The case will now proceed to the second judge who might ask for a re-examination, according to The Quint.

In January, Farhadi told BBC, “It's really hard for me to try to go back and remember what the genesis was, what triggered this story. Many of these stories develop in your mind subconsciously, gradually start to take shape, and an impulse for a script grows.”

Just after Masihzadeh filed a copyright lawsuit against Farhadi, he retorted by filing a defamation suit against Masihzadeh. On April 4, Masihzadeh told the Hollywood Reporter, that the media court in Tehran had dismissed the defamation case because of insufficient evidence.

Farhadi’s lawyer, Kaveh Rad, shared a statement on Instagram that the case investigator had denied Masihzadeh’s demand for a share in the film’s revenues if Farhadi was found guilty. He also mentioned that the verdict is ‘part of the trial’ and not the final decision. 

The producer of ‘A Hero’, Alexandra Mallet-Guy said in a statement to Variety, “We firmly believe that the court will dismiss Ms Masihzadeh, who cannot claim ownership on matters in the public domain given that the prisoner’s story has been disclosed in both press articles and TV reports years before Ms. Masihzadeh’s documentary was published.”

Going further Mallet-Guy said, “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”. The remaining is Asghar’s pure creation.”

Masihzadeh argued that the entire story was researched by her and there were no predominant reports available. The film follows a divorced dad who is incarcerated in Iran. While on a temporary release, he finds a handbag with gold coins and tracks down the owner. ‘A Hero’ won the Grand Prix at 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Farhadi has previously won the Academy Award twice. He bagged an Oscar in 2011 for his film 'A Separation' and in 2016 for 'The Salesman'. He won both the Oscars under the same category of 'Best Foreign Language Film', making him amongst the few directors to win the category twice.