Award-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is facing plagiarism charges for his 2021 film, A Hero, according to reports.
A Tehran court found evidence that the two-time Oscar-winning director violated the copyright of his former student, Azadeh Masihzadeh, by stealing his idea from a documentary, All Winners All Losers, according to US magazine The Hollywood Reporter.
The court said the 49-year-old director, known for his open-ended and dilemmatic movies, “violated Masihzadeh’s copyright for All Winners All Losers and of plagiarizing key elements of the documentary for his film without crediting Masihzadeh,” according to the magazine.
But Farhadi’s French producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, who is the head of the Paris-based Memento production and distribution company, denied reports that the director was found guilty of plagiarism.
According to a statement given to the entertainment magazine Variety, Mallet-Guy said that rather than a “legally binding ruling on this case” there was “a preliminary investigation to decide whether it should be brought to trial, and it has been decided that it will.”
The magazine said the court “dismissed any potential claims by Masihzadeh pertaining to revenues” from Farhadi’s film, citing Mallet-Guy.
“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 Mrs. Masihzadeh’s documentary was published,” said Mallet-Guy.
A Hero tells the story of Rahim who was in prison for unpaid debt. During a two-day leave, Rahim returns a handbag full of gold coins to its owner but his story ends up being more complex.
The film won the Grand Prix prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was Iran’s entry in the Best International Film at the 2022 Academy Awards.