A prosecutor in Tehran has indicted Iran's internationally acclaimed film director Asghar Farhadi for alleged plagiarisms.
The prosecutor decided that Farhadi, a twice Oscar winning filmmaker, has violated the intellectual property rights of one of his students at a filmmaking workshop in Tehran and the court has issued a summons.
According to the prosecutor, Farhadi's latest movie, A Hero, has been made based on the core idea of Azadeh Masihzadeh's documentary All Winners, All Losers.
As Farhadi's movie has European producers and distributors, the case has stirred controversy in the international film journals such as Hollywood Reporter. Lawyers in Europe and Iran are still chasing the case.
Farhadi's lawyer in Tehran, Kaveh Rad, said on his Instagram page that both Masihzadeh and the man whose life story was used in the film had filed complaints that have reportedly convinced the prosecutor in Tehran that Farhadi is guilty.
However, Rad, strangely denied that the court has accepted the arguments of the young filmmaker and the prisoner whose personal story has been made public in Farhadi's movie, and according to him, has damaged his reputation.
Azadeh Masihzadeh and Asghar Farhadi
Rad said that even if the first court finds him guilty another court might over-rule the verdict and restore Farhadi's right over his movie.
According to Masihzadeh in her interviews with Iranian and foreign-based media, she shared her idea with Farhadi in the classroom and told him that she was going to make a documentary about a man who found a large amount of money and returned it to the person who had lost it.
About a year later, Farhadi made A Hero based on the same story and according to Massihzadeh, refused to pay her for the idea or to give her credit for her story in the film's title. Massihzadeh said that Farhadi forced her to sign papers to withdraw her claim, but she was lucky enough to have witnesses.
She told the media that Farhadi refused to see her and listen to her afterwards as his film became internationally acclaimed and was welcomed at several film festivals in Europe and America. It was also nominated for an Oscar, but it was not shortlisted for the award. At the time, Farhadi filed counter-complaints against Massihzadeh's charges, but she told Khabar Online in Tehran that the prosecutor ruled out Farhadi's argument.
Massihzadeh, then made her documentary available on Youtube, where film critics had a chance to decide for themselves about the charge of plagiarism.
Some Iranians on social media have said that plagiarism is Farhadi's personal problem, but he should be accountable for whitewashing the Islamic Republic's crimes. Farhadi was criticized by critics for showing Iranian prisons in a very good and favorable light in his film.
He was also criticized during the Cannes Film Festival in France for turning a blind eye to major social and political events such as the downing of a civilian aircraft by the IRGC in 2020, while he had a good opportunity to name and shame the culprits at international forum.
In his defense, Farhadi denied being an accomplice of the regime, and claimed that his passport was confiscated at the airport when he was returning from film festivals abroad.
CORRECTION: In its version, this report had said Farhadi was "reportedly convicted". This was a reporting error for which we apologize.