Cannes: Iran Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi denies plagiarism claims

Iran’s two-time Oscar winner, director Asghar Farhadi, gave a lengthy rebuttal of claims that he plagiarised his 2021 film “A Hero” on Tuesday in Cannes.

The 50-year-old director is part of the jury for the world’s top movie festival, a year after “A Hero” won its second-place Grand Prix.

It emerged last month that Farhadi faces trial in Iran after a former student blamed him for stealing the idea for the movie, which follows an Iranian convict who gains fame after finding a purse of gold coins and tracking down its owner rather than keeping it for himself.

In any case, Farhadi said both the student’s documentary and his movie were based on a true story covered in the media, and therefore not subject to copyright law.

“When an event has already happened… it belongs in the public domain,” he told reporters, saying it was the first time he had publicly addressed the controversy.

“It had been the subject of an article in a famous newspaper in Iran, that anyone can find with a simple Google search,” Farhadi added.

“Anyone can have their own interpretation of this story. ‘A Hero’ is an interpretation, just like this documentary, and there is no question of copyright, absolutely not.”

Farhadi said she had demanded a credit at the start of the movie and a share of the revenues, but that the movie’s French producers had rightly refused.

“Out of respect for this person, I had asked for her to be thanked in the credits but she did not want that,” Farhadi said.