“A Hero” tells the true story of a man who found a bag of money and returned it, despite being on leave from debtors’ prison.” But, last month, Farhadi was charged with plagiarism in Iran after he was accused of stealing the premise from an earlier documentary called “All Winners All Losers”, made by his former film student Azadeh Masihzadeh.
“A Hero” won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, Farhadi vehemently denied that his film was a work of plagiarism.
“I have never spoken directly about this matter. A lot of the information that you have just given was published in the newspaper. The information was incorrect and was corrected subsequently. So I think we need to rectify the situation in light of the correct information,” Farhadi said.
“This documentary was something I saw at a workshop. I talked about it with the student. But much later on, I created the film ‘A Hero.’ And it cannot be viewed as a way of plagiarizing. In fact, in ‘A Hero,’ what is in the film is something quite different,” he added.
“We have to see why certain journalists have spread this incorrect information. What we do is to make fiction films and what I did in my film ‘A Hero’ is not related to the work done in the workshop I just referred to. It was based on a current event. This documentary and my film ‘A Hero’ are simply based on an event that happened two years prior to the workshop. When an event takes place and is discovered by the press, then it becomes public knowledge and you can do what you like — you can write a story or make a film about the event without one being a copy of the other,” the Oscar-winning director stated.
“You can look at the information on this event. ‘A Hero’ is just one interpretation of this event whereas the documentary was a documentary. It was not the same take at all. The newspaper you’re referring to talked about plagiarizing. This is not actually true and likewise the case is being studied by the religious authorities. There will be a jury to judge the case. But we don’t know when the case will be heard. It’s a very lengthy process,” he continued.
Masihzadeh claims that the true story hadn’t been reported in the press when she made the film. She filed a complaint with Iran’s House of Cinema in October 2021, that ruled in her favour. Farhadi then sued her for defamation, with Masihzadeh counter-suing for copyright infringement