Iranian Oscar-winning director charged with plagiarism after accusation by former student
Internationally acclaimed Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi has been indicted for plagiarism by an Iranian court after a suit was brought forward by one of his former students.
Azadeh Masihzadeh has accused Farhadi of taking the idea for his 2021 movie ‘A Hero’ from her documentary called ‘All Winners All Losers’, the Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday.
This ruling basically says it’s plagiarism if a real life thing inspires you… but someone already made a documentary about that thing? Farhadi is open about regularly being inspired by local stories. Documenting that story is not ownership of it. https://t.co/28j4ls06dI pic.twitter.com/hioYq6EIh6— The Oscar Expert (@expert_oscar) April 5, 2022
An Iranian court said it found enough evidence to move forward with the plagiarism suit.
The case will now be passed to a second judge who will decide whether Farhadi will be convicted or not, and whose judgement can later be appealed.
Masihzadeh directed ‘All Winners All Losers’ for a workshop led by Farhadi in 2014. It is the story of Mohammad Reza Shokri, a prisoner who finds a bag of gold and tries to return it to its owner.
Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’ is also about the same inmate. It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021, and its script is credited to Asghar Farhadi.
The director admitted his movie is based on the same premise as ‘All Winners All Losers’ but insists he did his own research independently, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Production, which co-produced ‘A Hero’ said in a statement that he is confident that the court would eventually acquit Farhadi.
“We firmly believe that the court will dismiss Ms Masihzadeh, who cannot claim ownership on matters in the public domain given that the prisoner’s story has been disclosed in both press articles and TV reports years before Ms Masihzadeh’s documentary was published,” read the statement.
“Various experts in Iran have already published articles analysing this case and concluding in favour of Asghar.”
Farhadi had initially sued Masihzadeh for defamation and she responded with a countersuit accusing Farhadi of plagiarism. The court ruled in favour of Masihzadeh both times.