Asghar Farhadi is celebrated as a pioneer of modern Iranian cinema, known for his humanist masterpieces such as About Elly and A Separation among many others. The recipient of two Academy Awards, Farhadi took a stance when he was invited to the Oscar ceremony but he refused to go because he wanted to protest against the travel ban imposed by Donald Trump on visitors from Muslim countries.
Farhadi explained: “We talked to the distributor here in the U.S. and the decision was to come over. But I saw the ban as a disrespect to the Iranian people and the other countries as well. The fact that I could go, but many other people couldn’t go would give me a bit of a bad feeling. I worked on a statement for one or two nights. It wasn’t just about the ban. It was about the people in my country, in the U.S., anywhere that divide people into groups. The politicians that do this. I thought that this is a general look at humanity.”
He has returned to the director’s chair with a brand new project titled A Hero which has already won the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The official synopsis reads: “Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned.”
“We don’t let people do wrong anymore,” Farhadi said. “What was interesting to me is that some ordinary people would do some humanitarian thing in their life at some moment, and people wanted that person to be that humanitarian guy all the time. They’re denied their past or their future. I’m not saying that people should do wrong things, but every person in order to be human has to have some wrongdoings.”
Farhadi also spoke about how the pandemic affected the production process of the film: “My production designer came to me and said, ‘There is this disease that is spreading in China, and it may come hit Iran as well and we have to be very careful.’ And a few days later, we heard that two people died in Iran as well and we decided to stop it. I thought, ‘It’s going to be over in one or two months.'”
The distributions rights in the US have been acquired by Amazon, with a theatrical release date of January 7. The film will also be accessible via Amazon Prime on January 21.
Check out the brand new trailer for A Hero below.