In Asghar Farhadi’s ninth feature film, a “hero” imprisoned for debt sees himself set up as a model of virtue after returning a lost bag of gold coins to its owner before a lie by omission comes to stop his media coverage. A gripping moral dilemma that won the Iranian director the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last July. But shortly after the film’s release, the director was accused of plagiarism by Azadeh Masihzadeh, a former student who accused him of having appropriated the script for her documentary, All Winners All Losers, which she would have developed during a workshop led by the filmmaker in Tehran in 2014. The young woman recently explained to ABC News that in 2019, the director would have asked him to sign a document stipulating that the idea for the screenplay was his. Intimidated by the fame of the filmmaker, she would have agreed to sign the text, only realizing the many similarities between their two films at the time of the screening of A Hero in 2021, further details ABC News. If Farhadi admitted that A hero was effectively based on the same true story, he also claimed to have conducted his own research to feed into his storyline. On this subject, he explained to Allociné during the French promotion of his film: “Eight or nine years ago […] as a simple educational project, I proposed to my students to divide into groups of two or three people, and I myself transmitted to them some of these stories which I had picked up in the press. I also asked them to try to find others, and to make small subjects on these people, on courses of this type. But, there again, it did not go beyond the framework of reflection and the educational approach. It’s only later […] that I said to myself that this concept, this subject which occupied my thoughts and which interested me for years, could deserve that I dwell more on it to write a story which has this subject at its heart.” The director therefore sued Azadeh Masihzadeh for defamation who responded by filing a plagiarism suit. The Iranian court dismissed the defamation case and today decided in favor of the plaintiff, finding Asghar Farhadi guilty of plagiarism. The filmmaker could be forced to pay Masihzadeh “all the income earned by the film in theaters or online” (it was Amazon Prime that acquired the rights to A Hero for the American territory) which amount, to date, to 2, $ 5 million Asghar Farhadi could also be sentenced to prison, according to The Hollywood Reporter. close felt to represent Iran in the race for the 2022 Oscars. But Farhadi had refused to send A Hero to compete for the statuette, denouncing on Instagram the hypocrisy of a regime of which he claims to be the target as an artist: ” How can I be associated in a misleading way with a government whose extremist media have never ceased in recent years to destroy me, marginalize me, stigmatize me. […] I have explicitly expressed my point of view on the suffering that [l’État] has imposed for years on the nation”. Contacted by The Hollywood Reporter regarding the accusations of plagiarism, Asghar Farhadi did not respond to their request.