Asghar Farhadi interview: ‘A Hero’ writer-director
Iran’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards, “A Hero,” tells the story of Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a man who was imprisoned for a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave from prison he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw the complaint against him, but things don’t go as planned. Asghar Farhadi wrote and directed the film and says he is honored to be selected to represent Iran for the third time because it will allow for a larger audience to see his work. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Farhadi has been selected to represent Iran twice before with “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016). Both films went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (now called Best International Feature). Earlier this year the National Board of Review awarded Farhadi for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay for “A Hero.” The Amazon Studios production will have a limited theatrical release on January 7 before becoming available to stream on Amazon Prime on January 21.
“When I start writing a story I never think about how I can make this a story for somebody who doesn’t speak Persian,” Farhadi explains. “When I do the writing I only think about one audience and that’s me. Does it interest me? Is it exciting or not? Being local and, at the same time, universal are not facing each other. They’re not confronting each other. There are mutual emotions between all people around the world. If the movie is done right, these emotions translate to all of them and they can connect with the film.”
In “A Hero,” the character of Rahim turns in a bag of gold he finds in the street, which leads people to hail the convicted criminal as someone to be idolized. “This idea that someone ascends in a very small period of time and then descends all the way was the core of the story and very interesting to me,” says Farhadi. “This is not a new story, but how to tell this story in a narrative way that is still interesting and exciting to the audience was a challenge for me.”
While shooting this film, Farhadi chose to work with a young cinematographer he had never collaborated with before named Ali Ghazi. “He’s a very talented man,” says Farhadi. “I really enjoyed working with him. Compared to my other films, this is a film that has more variety of locations. The aspect of this film that I was trying to emphasize was this aspect of documentary. Something should happen in the cinematography that doesn’t show the work of the director or the cinematographer. The audience should feel like this is not something that is filmed, but something that is always there. The locations we chose gave us the opportunity to give a fresh feeling and look to our film.”