Sep 8, 2021, 10:20 AM
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US magazine hails Iranian filmmaker Farhadi’s ‘global language’

Tehran, IRNA – As award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi is attending the Telluride Film Festival, Vanity Fair’s David Canfield praises him in an article, saying that he ‘speaks in a global language’.

Iranian filmmaker Ashghar Farhadi’s "A Hero" makes its North American premiere this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival. Following an awards qualifying run in November, the film will hit select theaters on January 7, 2022 before streaming on Prime Video starting January 21.

In this regard, Vanity Fair’s Canfield has reached to Farhadi to talk about his latest award-winning film "A Hero". Farhadi, according to Canfield, references the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht, the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and the Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman as inspirations.

In the interview, Farhadi says that he has found why his own movies resonate everywhere and that is, in addition to the fact that similarities between people all around the world are way more than their differences “because our basis in cinema is the human emotion.”

This is certainly true, at the very least, of Farhadi’s cinema, which consists largely of Iranian stories of parents and spouses complicated by secrets and revelations, writes Canfield.

He adds that Farhadi’s narratives, intimate in scope, consistently reach for a universal truth and that’s one reason why he’s among the most highly regarded directors alive.

Canfield highlights a common aspect in Farhadi’s background and that of two of his idols, Bergman and Kurosawa: They’re three of a very, very small group to have helmed multiple Oscar winners for best international film and remarkably; Farhadi is the only one to have done so in the 21st century.

The Iranian filmmaker says that the idea of "A Hero" came to his mind from Brecht’s play Life of Galileo, which begins with the famed scientist replicating the novel telescope and selling it as his own creation—only to be found out and crucified for it.

Farhadi recounts that he read the play 20 years ago when he was a student, but the idea came back to him, although he “never thought that I would write a movie or a play or anything about that concept.”

"A Hero" follows Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a young man imprisoned over an unpaid debt to his brother-in-law. On a two-day leave, during which Rahim plans to settle what he owes, his secret girlfriend comes across a bag filled with gold coins.

Rahim initially considers taking the coins to secure his freedom, then devises a more complex plan: Make a story out of returning the bag to its rightful owner, rather than taking the money for himself and then pretend he’s the one who found the bag.

Farhadi was not present to accept the Oscar for his last winning film, "The Salesman", a clever, wrenching domestic drama spun off from Arthur Miller’s iconic play. In the early months of 2017, just before the Academy Awards, newly elected President Donald Trump had instituted a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. Whether he could have ultimately traveled or not, Farhadi, in protest, did not consider attending.

“My absence is out of respect for the people of my country,” Farhadi had said in a statement at the time.

“Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.”

To that point, Canfield notes, Farhadi’s work speaks for itself. He first noticed the power of his medium with his best-known work, 2011’s Oscar-winning "A Separation", which also earned him a nomination for best original screenplay.

“I never really tried to have a universal language in any of my films…. But Japan, Sweden, everywhere—people related to that one,” Farhadi tells Canfield now.

“This tells me something very important: Being local and being universal are not in contrast. They’re not facing each other.”

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