Asghar Farhadi is accused of plagiarism for A Hero

A student of the filmmaker made a documentary on the same subject, All Winners, All Losers.

Plagiarism trial underway in court in Tehran, Iran: director Asghar Farhadi is accused of having taken up the story told by one of his students, Azadeh Masihzadehin a documentary titled All Winners, All Losersfor his last film, A hero. Acclaimed at the last Cannes Film Festival, where it received the Grand Prix, this drama earned approximately $2.5 million at the worldwide box office. Its creator claims to have done his own research and is in turn filing a complaint against her for defamation, relates The Hollywood Reporter.

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The court considers that the filmmaker has taken on key elements of the (true) story of Mohammad Reza Shokri, a prisoner who found gold in the street when he obtained a leave of absence for a few hours, and who decided to return it to its owner. Thus the accusation of defamation against the director of the documentary, shot before the film, is rejected, and the accusation of plagiarism against Farhadi recognized. A second judgment has yet to be confirmed in the court of appeal.

Kaveh Rad, the director’s lawyer, clarified that Masihzadeh’s request to receive part of the profits fromA hero had been rejected, however, and insisted that the fact that the defendant was found guilty of plagiarism was by no means definitive: “It’s part of the procedure, but there are still steps.” It is also specified that another complaint, this time coming from Mohammad Reza Shokri in person, who claimed that his reputation had been violated by the film A herowas dismissed by the court.

Alexandre Mallet-Guy, producer of the film via Memento, commented: “We firmly believe that the court will reject the charges of Miss Masihzadeh, who cannot claim to hold the rights to this story, since the journey of this prisoner has been part of the public domain since it was told in the press and at the television, several years before she released her documentary (…) Moreover, the story of this prisoner who finds gold in the street and returns it, this is only the starting point of ‘A hero. The rest was purely created by Asghar.” The Complainant refutes this argument stating that when she researched the matter, the case only appeared in local newspapers and its details were not available to the general public. Farhadi believes that if they were well inspired by the same case for the documentary and the film, he did his own research, which in no way obliged him to credit Masihzadeh.

To be continued…

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