Film student Asghar Farhadi found not guilty in hero defamation lawsuit


The Iranian court has yet to rule on the plagiarism suit brought by Azadeh Masihzadeh, who claims his former teacher stole the idea for ‘A Hero’ from his documentary.

Azadeh Masihzadeh, the former film student of Asghar Farhadi who accused the director of stealing the idea for his 2022 Oscar ‘A Hero’ from the documentary she conceived in her class, has been found not guilty of defamation by the Iranian court. Farhadi sued her for defamation after she allegedly stole material from her film “All Winners, All Losers,” which screened at an Iranian film festival in 2018. The plagiarism lawsuit that Masihzadeh brought against Farhadi, which the court has not yet resolved, remains unresolved. to rule.

By The Hollywood Reporter, the Iranian court said there was “insufficient evidence” to support Farhadi’s claims that Masihzadeh was seeking to damage the reputation of the two-time Oscar-winning director. Her acquittal in the libel trial means she will not face a possible two-year prison sentence or, according to some speculation, possible corporal punishment.

If the court finds Farhadi guilty of plagiarism, he may have to give up all revenue generated by the film in theaters or online (it was released in the United States by Amazon Studios) in favor of Masihzadeh.

‘A Hero,’ which won the Grand Prix at Cannes last year and was shortlisted for the 2022 International Feature Film Oscar, follows divorced father Rahim (Amir Jadidi), who is on debtors’ prison leave. When he comes across a bag of money that is worth less than he thought, he decides to return the money in the hope of restoring his image as a former prisoner.

Masihzadeh claimed that she pitched the idea of ​​”All Winners” during a documentary filmmaking class at Tehran’s Karnameh Institute in 2014. Masihzadeh came up with the story of a Mr. Shokri, an inmate in the prison for debtors who, like the protagonist of “A Hero”, found a bag of gold during a temporary absence and decided to return it.

“I remember that moment very well because we were all shocked – Mr. Farhadi was also shocked – because Azadeh’s story was so interesting and she made it all up herself,” said Rola Shamas, one of Masihzadeh’s classmates, at THR. .

Masihzadeh said that in 2019, Farhadi called her into his office and asked her to sign a document saying that the idea of ​​”All winners, all losers” was Farhadi’s.

“I shouldn’t have signed him, but I felt a lot of pressure to do so,” said Masihzadeh, who reportedly received no payment from Farhadi. “Mr. Farhadi is this great master of Iranian cinema. He used this power he had over me to get me signed.

Farhadi’s lawyer, Sophie Borowsky, noted that “ideas and concepts are not copyrighted”, which also means that the document signed by Masihzadeh has no legal value.

Borowsky added that the inspiration for the film came from a play by Bertolt Brecht but the film is also a free take on the story of Shokri, which Farhadi and his representatives say was prominent in the media. long before the workshop. A source provided IndieWire with two reports from Iran, which appear to have been published in 2012, detailing Shokri’s story and allegedly serving as research for ‘A Hero’.

But Masihzadeh claimed that “[Shokri’s] the story was never in the national media, it was never aired on television, it was not available online or in public records. This is a story that I found and researched on my own.

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